November 9, 2014

How to Say Goodbye

Being a member of an international school community has many perks including meeting people of all different backgrounds, learning lessons you wouldn't necessarily learn about in a US classroom, and celebrating more school holidays. But there's also a downside. 

If you ask these international school kids, 90% have moved countries more than once, 63% three or more times (completely made up figures  but you get my point) and when you move around that much as a kid, it doesn't tend to stop as you reach your high school years which means either detaching yourself emotionally from your friends or learning how to face several tough goodbyes over the years. 

Last year I had to say goodbye to Shiv, a close friend that moved into my life from Sri Lanka and out of it to Brazil. Over the years I've said goodbye to many including Anaya, Oisin, and Louis, to name only a few. 

Recently I had to bid a hasty adieu to Tate when she decided to move back to New Zealand, a move I knew she was considering but didn't knew she had undertook until she was gone. Our relationship was, like any epic linking (think Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), dramatic and full of twists and turns but that's what made it exciting--plus she's a great, funny person and one hell of a Lush fanatic. (I hear she's starting a new literary venture so good luck to chummy on that front!) 

Just this past week I had to say goodbye to someone that has had a huge presence in my life, despite the tiny presence she carries herself. 

Saying goodbye is never easy, just ask Gabriella in HSM3, but unfortunately it's a part of life. Kim moved to the Philippines from Great Britain and is originally from South Africa. Her next journey is to Australia, where she and her family have lived before (I hope I got the timeline right....) She's leaving on Friday and we just spent our last time together for.....well an indefinite amount of time. 

That's what really sucks about these goodbyes, you never know when you're going to actually see the person again--maybe never. Of course I promised her I'd be annoying her for the rest of our lives but one never really knows what the future holds and that's sad (and slightly scary). 
(she's gonna kill me for this)

Kim, Celene, and I all went to the beach before spending the night at Kim's midst-of-being-packed house. We played Slender Man, Five Nights at Freddy's, watched Hotel Transylvania, random YouTube videos and the first quarter of Pitch Perfect. All in all it was a junk food and adrenaline-filled day that wasn't tainted until the next morning when we woke up and realized our goodbyes were semi-final. 

View this photo on Instagram

View this photo on Instagram

Celine, moi, Kim

For all the goodbyes I've had to say, and there've been a lot, I've never quite figured out how to handle them. But just typing that....I feel like I'm lying bc obviously I have handled them because I'm still a functioning human being.

The first round of really difficult goodbyes I had to say were when I first moved here, there was my village which was so difficult and then there was Amrita, nearly impossible. But I guess I've "dealt" with them because those weren't true goodbyes, I knew when I was seeing them again and I talk to them at least once a week and, in Ammie's case, like once an hour.

With indefinite goodbyes, like Shiv's or now Kim's, it's a lot harder and you feel a lot more deflated (not saying I wasn't depressed for a while and still get homesick sometimes) because the absence isn't going to be absolved at a certain time.

There is no quick-fix for these feelings (or really any feelings). The only advice I can give is to stay in touch if the person really means that much to you, not to close yourself off from forging new relationships just because you're scared of being that sad again, and don't be afraid just because it's been a while since you talked or feel like you're bothering them if they don't answer right away. 

Of course, apply what you need to to your own relationships and take all advice with a grain of salt because each situation is different. But if you and the person really are two halves of the same pie, you'll make it work without feeling like work.

Take it from someone in a long-distance relationship with pretty much everyone.


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