In the past two years, I have had to bid farewell too many times; either temporarily, eternally, or it-might-be-temporary-but-could-be-eternal-too-ly.
Before that, the major goodbyes that I had to say were on the last day of primary school, the day my mom died, and the last day of secondary (high) school, spanning five years.
What do you mean by major goodbyes?
The case with my mom, that’s obvious. As for others, my school mates and teachers, it could be goodbye forever unless we make an effort to keep in touch and try to see each other again. Major goodbyes also consists of leaving a physical location and a phase of life. For me, mostly people though.
Yet in the last two years, the rate of Goodbyes for me increased tremendously; I’m not talking about some random stranger I met on a random day, I mean people that I have had the chance to form an emotional attachment to; places that I’ve lived in (different from a short getaway, this typically means living somewhere for at least 2 weeks and leading a normal life, doing non-touristy things but human things); stages of my life where after I completed the current activity that’s beneficial to my future, I would never ever repeat that activity again. Allow me to elaborate.
I believe this is self-explanatory. Surely you have experienced that feeling of sadness and heartbreak.
I am lucky to have the chance make friends from all over the world. I met most of them while studying German in Germany, over there, a course typically runs for a month or two months; I did two two-month courses and three one-month courses, so five courses; some people were only there for a course or two. I was meeting new people at the beginning of every course but I also had to say goodbyes at the end of every course. A lot of my friends back home wouldnt be able to relate because how could I be so heartbroken for people I’ve just known for a month or two? Well, try seeing the same people every day during 80% of your waking hours. Some maths: so a normal human is probably awake for 16 hours per day (going by the 8 hour per night guideine), 80% will be 11.4 hours, per day. Sounds a lot? Because it is. Most of my classes started at 8.30am and ended at 1pm, we hung out during breaktimes too. Then we had lunch together. After lunch normally we split up and went back to our own rooms to mind our own businesses. Then we’d have teatimes. Then dinner. And more hanging out after dinner. That’s a shit ton of time spent together with someone I’ve just met.
In contrast, back in the school days in Malaysia, I was basically just home after school and the only times I got to see my friends and talk nonsense were during recesses, co-curricular activities, and maybe weekend meetups but that was rare cos we couldn’t drive yet. It’s actually not a lot of time. I’m trying to say that I might have spent more time in a month in Germany with someone new in my life than someone back home whom I’ve known since primary school.
Oops sorry this turned out more long-winded than I expected. Back to it.
So there’s five goodbyes just at the language institutes in Germany. And I met some of the people again but we had to say goodbye again and honestly that really sucked. Through my solo trips this year to Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia, I’ve had to bid more farewells because really, when would I see any of those people again?
I also had to remove some people from my life, normally toxic people but sometimes, just friends who grew apart. Think about it…these might be unspoken goodbyes. Sad. Yet I have no control over these things.
Last year, I left Freiburg im Breisgau where I spent a total of six months three times; I cried on every occasion. It literally broke my heart every time but I suspect that most of it has got to do with the people I met there. People again. Darn it.
Leaving Germany in November was another odd farewell. Though I was sure that I’d be back in within a year, I couldn’t help but felt an emptiness in my heart while boarding the plane.
Gaining a better appreciation of people and life, I also had little twitches in my heart when having to depart from Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia. Although I might have complained about things, the question that would pop into my mind whenever I’m on my way to the airport was: When would I see these places again?
PHASE OF LIFE
From being a baby to going to the kindergarten, then primary school, then secondary school, then college/pre-uni; those are different life phases. Most people I grew up with follow the same trajectory up till the end of secondary school, then we all diverged. Some went to university, some started working. I studied Cambridge Advanced-Levels. Most of my coursemates went to study right after while I learnt the German language. The past nine months or so being home is essentially a gap year, which I’m glad that I used to gain more life experiences. I’m blessed in so many ways and am grateful for it.
After this, I’m starting university; two years later than most peers; but I’d be there. I cannot imagine the life after studies though…at this point I’ve spent more than three quarters of my life studying I cannot visualise anything without it. Ha. Ha.
I looked forward into starting the new life but now that it’s really happening, I find myself sad. It’s a weird mix of feelings.
Sad to leave my family and friends here, sad to leave the previous phase of life (the #foreveralone phase), sad to leave Malaysia.
This is one of my worst writings, possibly because of my laborious attempt to transition to German time while being in Malaysia…I am sleep deprived. Also it took me more than a month to write this and this is a last minute finish. Mmm, gotta have better writing strategies after this.
Thank you for reading if you’ve made it to here.