20 April 2011

A forced smile, concerned eyes, a tight embrace.

I study societies and cultures. They are two of the majors in my degree. I spend many hours of my academic year seeking to understand - or at least, provide myself with the frameworks - the world. I have so many lens through which to look at the world, and they have meant that I understand so much more of why the world is as it is. It's all very abstract and pretentious, but that doesn't detract from its truth. Yet, despite such lens and understandings of people and cultures, I currently find myself completely and truly lost.

For the last four months I have been in Canada, rather far away from my family and friends. I arrived in this country on 29 December and knew absolutely no one. Not one person - not a family member, not any friends, not any distant relatives. I was - as you might remember from last time I posted - alone in a hotel room in a city which I knew nothing about.

Four months later and my world has changed completely. Vancouver has become my second home. I've learnt about its histories, its cultures, the stories of its people, and I've fallen in love with it. I know names of streets, can navigate around the city with ease, and feel that I am a part of this gorgeous landscape - thousands of kilometres away from my other life. I've met so many people. I've talked to people on trains, chatted with classmates, shared anecdotes with shop assistants, and made friends from every corner of this globe.

This has been my world for four months, and suddenly, in exactly a week, I will be moving away from the university, to begin my adventure across the great white north. For the last few days I have said more goodbyes than I ever thought that I would have to. And it hurts.

Which brings me back to my being well and truly lost. I don't like saying goodbye. I don't know how to say goodbye. I don't want to say goodbye. And yet - I have to. These aren't the kind of goodbyes that you give to your family and friends when you go away for six months. These are the kind of goodbyes that signal a undefinable period of time apart. They are goodbyes that could mean many years apart. They are goodbyes that might even be forever. People who've touched you for such an important period of time, and yet you'll never see again.

How do you even begin to say a goodbye to someone you aren't even sure you'll ever see again? How do you put all of these feelings into a single word and a hug? Do you just have faith that the flows of your life will bring you all together again to share another beer? Do you both accept at that moment that this could be that last moment you lay eyes on each other for many months, years, or decades?

I don't know how to do it. I've said too many of these goodbyes, and none of them feel like enough. I want to cry, and to smile, and to laugh with them - all in the same moment. And yet, all my eloquence can muster is a forced smile, concerned eyes, a tight embrace, and whispers that the flows of the world will bring us together again.

To all those I have to say goodbye to, and to all those who I have already said goodbye to - this post is for you. I want you to know that you have made these four months of my life amazing and unforgettable, and the most amazing adventure that I may ever have. And for that - I am truly grateful.

And so I wish you all goodbye, and my most sincere best wishes for the future.

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."
-- Richard David Bach

1 comment:

Maddie said...

I know the feeling Chris - so not looking forward to it here. Oh man. This kind of goodbye is the worst.

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