I’m currently watching the TV show “House of Cards.” In the episode I’m watching now, the main character, congressman Francis Underwood, goes back to his hometown Charleston, South Carolina, for a gathering of alumni. In a drunken, nostalgic tone, he asked his old friend “Do you think this place made us? When I walked on campus today, I wondered, did it mean anything, it was just a place we spent 4 years of our lives, nothing more.”
But was it?
Some of us changed addresses all the time, and some of us moved from our home town to University – and maybe a new city for work once we were finished. Most likely, we’ve all had the thought of whether those years spent in one place have affected the way we are today. The way we are today, is probably very different from when we were in our early twenties, or pre-teen years, or puberty, for that matter.
We’re grown people now, with our own set of friends, with our jobs and our hobbies – but when we see people from our past, it’s like a moment hasn’t gone by since the last time we met. Our conversations flow just the same, conversations feeding our souls just the same, regardless of the fact that we can drink more wine than we could at that point when we first met (or whiskey, in Francis’s case).
My point is that every single experience makes us who we are. Those 4 years Francis spent at college not only introduced him to the people he knows now, and keeps in touch with once in … never. His 4 years at college in South Carolina shaped his views and taught him how to look at the world and the people in it.
I reminisce often about my year in Italy. We spent countless nights “at the gate,” a secluded place no teacher knew we would visit. We had secret bars the teachers didn’t know the bartenders at and we took weekend trips, trips that would go down in history if we ever retold them.
That was one year, three less than Francis, yet still the year of firsts, the year of my first sip of coffee and the year of friendships it would generally take at least 10 years to build had we all been at home.
Those people are still in my Skype contacts, they’re on my Facebook and occasionally we do visit one another. However, they’re not a part of my life today.
Or are they?