beginning farewell

Four out of eight - that’s the number of days I’ve cried this week. I don’t like to think of myself as a terribly emotional person, but perhaps I’m getting there. Caroline left last Saturday, Ian on Tuesday, a bunch of students on Friday, and Todd this morning. And the Tibetans leave in a few days, so it’ll be tears times nine then… 

It was worst saying goodbye to Todd this morning. I had to rush onto a bus, and was left watching the scene fly by and wondering why the tears were so hard to keep back, especially since Todd lives six hours from me, and literally closer to my university than anyone I know. The girls on the bus with me were worried about my tears, so I was trying to fight them back as much as possible. And while I did, I thought about what was causing them to flow. 

Perhaps it’s not just the farewells to people that have been so hard this week. Most of these people I will probably see again, or can at least keep up with over QQ, email, or skype. Actually, I’ve already skyped Ian and Caroline this week! Perhaps, what makes me saddest is saying farewell to this time, this part of my life. These friends I’ve made are still my friends, and we’ll still value each other for a long time. But this era, this moment in time, flies away leaving only memories. And it flies so quickly. 

Yesterday, one of the Tibetan girls was fiddling around on the piano with me, and asked if I could teach her a song she knew. It was a Chinese song, and she found it online and played it for me. Listening, I could gather that the lyrics were about someone being with another person, watching them grow up, caring deeply. The words of the chorus sang out, “时间都去哪儿了?” which means, “Where has all the time gone?” And as I write this sentence, literally, I can hear them singing it in the classroom next to the office I’m in. I don’t think they realize how poignant they’ve become.

I don’t know if this blog post really has a point. I think it’s just a place for me to process this letting go once again. On that bus driving away from Todd and the school today, I even thought to myself, Why do I put myself through this over and over again? Why do I keep pouring myself into people and tying my heart to theirs when I know I’ll just have to tear it away again? And I guess the answer was pretty simple. It’s worth it. Yeah, it hurts. I remember feeling this way when I was first separated from my intern team two years ago. I remember feeling this way when I left Dandelion last February. And I know that this won’t be the last time either. Life goes on, and the story life is by necessity made of chapters that begin and end. And though I’ve come to grasp and understand this concept of closing one chapter to begin another, I still sometimes wish I could re-live the previous chapter a time or two. 

Thank you Todd, Caroline, and Ian for being a huge part of writing this chapter with me: Ian, for being passionate about things with me; Caroline, for being my twin in a good number of ways; Todd, for always being there with a thought or a listening ear. Where has all the time gone? I’m not sure. Is it a ridiculous bummer to be separated? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely. 

Am I saying goodbye to these dear friends of mine? No, not really. I don’t think we’ll actually be able to get rid of each other for a good long while. 

But the farewell has begun for this era of life. I have a bit more than three weeks left, but this is where the goodbyes have started. Like Todd and I talked about yesterday, it’s the fact that it was so wonderful that makes it so hard to leave. 

Yes, it’s hard to leave. I’ll be treasuring these last weeks, days, and moments as I say goodbye step by step. It will be a hard farewell indeed.


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