In August 1995 everything changed. Well it may have started just a little bit before, around the time we were accepted. It was the groups personality. Before you “join COL” everyone in COL sees you as a delight. You’re someone to “spread Grandmaster’s light” to… But as you join COL, you become someone else they’re in competition with. I think my mother can really speak to this. (Perhaps someday she will guest blog?)
In July at the Korean restaurant I had this combinational feeling of elation, and aloneness. The latter was a difficult one to acknowledge. I acknowledged what was going to happen; that at age 12 I would be separated from my mother, who I had lived with in the same house since I was born would be separated from me; that I would go from having my own room and TV, to NO TV in the home, sharing my room with 3 other children, and a house with 20 other men. There was a disparity though, in what reality would be. I didn’t realize what I was going to experience.
Upon acceptance into COL the mad dash to “moving” began. The first requisite was that we were told that we needed to get rid of everything save a few items; if we wanted to keep furniture and toys we would need to find off site storage.
This past summer my son went away to camp for the first time. I looked at the list of things to bring: Toothbrush, soap, sleeping bag, paper and stamps to write home, sun block. That was pretty much it. The thing that struck me when I read this list was how similar it was to the COL move in list. It was a sad moment reflecting on how minimalistic of an existence we had in COL.
One requirement was our photo albums had to be stored. No family pictures. I don’t remember if it was written or not, but it was made very clear. Also my legos… I was able to keep very few toys… I may have been 12, but this stuff mattered at the time.
What this did give me is a disconnect from material things. I find that to be a virtue, being disconnected and not attached to belongings.