I recently received a message from an old exchange friend who I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. It is always nice when you get an unexpected hello from someone. He told me what he was up to and asked how I was. He also mentioned the letter I wrote to him after I left SA. He said it read differently now.. a few years down the road. I kinda wish I remembered what I had written to him.
He was going to be leaving Cape Town and was going to be moving to another city to work. This was a tough decision for him as he was going to be leaving a lot behind. He ended up asking me a question…
“I already miss everyone Im leaving behind. How did you do it, leaving people you’d grown very fond of behind?”
I haven’t replied to him yet. But at the same time, I didn’t really have an answer. I know that he was referring to how I left. But the situation was different. I had no choice BUT to leave. There was a definite start date, and a definite end date. But it did make me think of everything that changed in that short time frame. There are quite a few things I have rarely told others; that I had wanted to extend my term to a year; that one of the reasons I knew I was going to stay in Vancouver was because I had unfinished business. If things were a bit different… if I had a chance to stay more permanently and I didn’t have unfinished business, would I have left? I know that when I finish what I want in Vancouver, I don’t necessarily want to stay here. At the same time, I am thinking very freely though… that I haven’t met someone who wants to stay and live in Vancouver. But if I haven’t…
How will I feel then?
Perhaps my cheesy answer is this: It is never easy to leave the things you care about behind, but sometimes we can find new opportunities and pathways elsewhere. And these new pathways will hopefully make you realize the people and places that you left behind, were indeed very special.
I will probably see if I can word it better for him. But it’s the best I have for now.