See also: Christmas and New Year’s In Beijing
Having lived abroad more than once, I’m all too familiar with friends that come and go. When you are an expatriate living or studying abroad, wherever it may be, it is more than likely that it is not forever. You meet people, you make friends, you get close and then they leave. Or you do.
In my life, it has always been me. Maybe, I’m a gypsy at heart and I will never stop. I consider London my home, a place that praised me in all my glory and accepted all my flaws yet teaching me more lessons than one. More importantly, that’s where majority of my beloved friends are located, right now at least. Yet, here I am, half way across the world, literally, in Beijing. So yeah, gypsy. Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that in my little stints living away from home I was always the one to leave. These friendships varied from locals to expatriates like myself. When I left and eventually or simultaneously so did my friends, it somehow didn’t seem as hurtful as leaving someone behind in Sydney, that you dearly keep close to your heart.
Whilst studying abroad in Sydney, I was told by Sydneysiders and some ‘overstaying’ expats how it feels to be on the other end of these friendships. Often, those that go through it in very popular international migration hotspots grow tired of it simply due to the emotional stress it causes. It can be cause of loneliness or lesser desire to meet new people as they may leave as soon as you get attached. I have left too eventually.
Now I am in Beijing for two years at least and I am sure as hell I will be experiencing that feeling of being ‘left behind’ in one way or another. We had our first farewell dinner here in Beijing for our friend Jamie, who jetted off back to London last month. Although, he will be back for another semester in February, you could sense a hint of that feeling that will become part of my life here I guess. Then came january. There were even more farewells this month as the semester came to an end and majority of those leaving have done so for good. Unlike Jamie and Jack (the only two people who will resurrect next semester) , many will go for good and I can only guess it will become harder.
People will come and go. I will meet them, invest in a relationship and then they will leave. Given that on average people come here for six months, that’s 3-4 sets of friends and just as many goodbyes. Whilst they set off for their next adventure, I’ll stay here.
On a more positive note, let’s not forget that I am on an adventure too. Whilst they are setting off to their adventures I’m living mine right here in Beijing. All the people that I meet on these international endeavors, whether it be Sydney or Beijing, bring so many positive things into my life making it worthwhile despite the sad goodbyes. They all have a role in creation of who I am or becoming. Some stay, some go and a goodbye is never a good-bye in today’s world now is it. We’re all only a click, drive or a flight away from each other.
Here’s to all kinds of friendships!
I would like to hear your stories of leaving friends or being left behind on your international adventures. How did you fell on either end of the stick? How did you deal with it? What have you learned?