Moments of Leaving

Posted: 9th May 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

A friend of mine had what I call a Leaving Moment, recently. I define this as a moment where you and others around you get together, realizing that your time together is almost over. It’s a time to appreciate each other and let your guard down.

I remember times like that. I remember the trip to Bali we took after I graduated from my school in Jakarta. I particularly remember how… pure it was. There was little in the way of politics, jealousy or whatever. Well there was, now that I think about it, but just a little. In the grand scheme of things it was a wonderful moment I’ll never forget in my life. I remember my very last night in Jakarta before I left for Michigan. I drank enough to throw up in a gutter next to a best friend’s house. I don’t remember if I cried that night, but the sadness of leaving stayed with me for almost a year.

I remember when I left Michigan. It was in stages. Even though it’s probably the lowest point of my life I remember finding it hard to leave. I remember my goodbyes when I left the dorms. I remember my goodbyes as I left on the day or two before I flew away.

The classmates I had in Le Bouveret, Switzerland still talk about our time there. Every week we celebrated because we knew it wouldn’t last. At the end we hugged, cried and despaired at an ending. We tried to patch it up when we got found each other again after our internships but it wasn’t the same. We were still friends, but things had changed. It wasn’t the same moment.

But nevertheless, I’ll never forget that last night when we finished. We went out, we drank and danced, and I walked home crying on one of my best friend’s shoulders, and spent the next two hours with her talking about it. There’s a video of me, still sniffing from the emotion of it, talking in interview with her.

I didn’t let it die there. But I get the feeling it would be the same if I left here. I had that feeling from those who left. That leaving party for those others who started with me was full of that feeling. The day or two before my roommate left were so full of activity in which people showed their love and friendship for someone special in their lives possibly leaving forever…

The friend I was talking to has only really had one of these moments, and it was her first. She’s a TCK and has left before, but never felt the intense group bonding which culminates in a moment like that. I have. Those moments never leave you, and always stay with you. But the intensity of that emotion leads you to think that those friendships are eternal, that this is something you’ll always share. In a way, you always have it, and for the most part it is something you’ll always have shared.

But life doesn’t stop for those moments. People grow up, and move on. The truth you felt then isn’t necessarily any less true, but the picture just gets bigger. It becomes part of the panorama of your life. Especially as TCKs, who’ve moved around and often continue to move around, it just doesn’t stop. LIfe doesn’t hold up to let you breathe in the moment very often and it’s good to take it in while you can… but it doesn’t last.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I really agree with you about the second-to-the-last paragraph.
    Sometimes, Americans assume that race=nationality, which makes me lol
    Reading this makes me miss the thrill of talking about different cultures
    and experiences a lot.
    Traveling away from the country itself too!
    Uncle Dan, please write more :]

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I envy you for having many of those dramatic partings. I don’t really have much. I didn’t learn it in the same way with you but I know what you mean – especially on the last paragraph.