Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm bad at saying goodbye

It's a bit blabby, just to warn you.

I can't deal with saying goodbye. I'm actually not leaving Århus for another month but already I clearly feel that this is the end of many things. It seems irrational to me that the end of our time here should make me so sad because I knew that this day would come.

At the beginning of my exchange, I had no idea it would be so hard to leave here. I didn't understand how difficult it was for an Italian exchange student I knew. She was supposed to leave in February or March. Several of her friends post a brief video on facebook to say goodbye to her. She commented below the video that it had made her bawl. I knew she was scheduled to fly back to Italy. But the next day I found out that she decided to rebook or cancel that return flight entirely. She wanted to get back to Denmark as soon as possible, anyway possible. In the end, she got an internship placement in another city in Denmark and comes to Århus on weekends to visit her Erasmus friends. It all seemed so immature to me to do anything to extend a previously decided length of studying abroad. When it's time to leave, you leave and are a little bit sad about it but you know that Erasmus is a finite experience. But now I think I know what that's like.

I've been trying to figure out what it is exactly that I have such a hard time letting go of. The friends I have met here, I will miss. The life that I have lived here in the last six months, I will miss. But it's the experience that I will not be able to continue.

The world is small and we'll meet each other again. And even if we don't, we have Skype, we have Facebook.  But the set of circumstances during which we have been friends will not be the same.

It sounds like I'm saying that I don't miss my friends here but that's not what I mean. I will miss them very much but I am just a teeny bit comforted by the fact that we will keep in touch in other ways. All these people will remain. The geography doesn't bother me that much because I have friends living in different states. We don't see each other except via social media. I can deal with that. When I was feeling particularly sad about our impending diaspora, I repeated to myself, "We have Skype. We have Skype. We have Skype," like a mantra.

But the experiences here are not only dependent on individual people but also circumstances which will never occur again. There is only one first time. There is only one moment where we went to the beach and the sea and the wind and the clouds and the sun looked that way, only one moment where we looked that way and felt that way. My friends here will continue to exist after Erasmus ends but our Erasmus semester itself will end. And I'm not sure that anything can comfort me.

There were times in the first weeks in Denmark where I missed the States dearly. Now I know that my first few weeks back "home", I will miss my friends and my life in Århus intensely. Thanks to all my Stateside friends who sent their cyberlove when I shamelessly asked for it. I know when these Århus friends that have dispersed, I will go home to you all.


ecomarci said...

when i was 16 i went to Europe with an orchestra for 3 weeks. The entire car ride home I was bawling. After that, I've realized that people do come and go (and the good ones stay around a bit), but the most you can do is enjoy the time and circumstances you have together. It will be hard at first but time will go on and you'll move on.

CYW said...

I anticipate a lot of bawling.

It's only a few people here that I'll miss a lot because we've become quite close. But I also hope that these are the people who will stay around a bit.