Saturday, 14 November 2009

Never can say goodbye

In this ever-changing world of migration, globalisation and the collapse of barriers (be they physical, cultural, institutional or just plain-old mindsets), more and more individuals are coming into and out of our lives from near and far-flung places. Only last month, a friend of mine got offered an excellent and challenging job abroad. In accepting the position she knew that she would also be initiating a period of farewell drinks, dinners and tears along the way. As she packed up her life to-date, she noted on her blog the large number of boxes full of chattels and stuff she’d collected along the way. It was going to be a mammoth task. Yet as huge as the transportation effort was going to be, she did comment that the largest element storing her history was, in fact, the lightest. So much of her recent history was stored in her mind. Fond memories. There’s no knowing when the sounds, the smells and the sensations will be triggered again along the way. But they’re not disappearing any time soon.

I know change is part of life and with the end of one chapter comes the beginning of a new one. But it’s only human nature to want to hang onto the way things are. It’s not easy uprooting to a brand new country – I’ve done it twice. You invest a hell of a lot of time, money, energy and emotional capital making your new life work and it’s worth the effort. And then you have to give it up all over again. Change is good (often), change is natural (always). But still. I said au revoir and not goodbye to this friend (which is just as well as she was, after all, moving to France). Who knows when we’ll be able to catch up again? It doesn’t mean that there should be finality to it, though. New priorities, timezones and distractions are bound to have an impact. But in this ever-shrinking world shaped more by international travel and easy connectivity it really shouldn’t need to be the end of another friendship, now should it?

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