I am leaving in one week and two days and so I have already said goodbye to some of my friends and acquaintances. Honestly, I never had to say goodbye like this so it’s a little new for me, but so far, I have made one keen observation. It can be quite awkward. Because saying goodbye now, for a long period of time, is actually not much different from saying goodbye for a weekend. In fact, it is pretty much the same.
In general, people don’t just want to say: “goodbye”. Often, this is followed by something along the lines of: “talk to you later” or “see you next week”. I have even noticed that most people want to know exactly when they will see you again, simply so they can say: “see you on Monday a week from now”. I guess people like to be specific.
But now that I’m going away for a longer period of time, saying some of these things will just be a lie, because I won’t see you next week. And maybe we will talk later, but it will not be in person. So when people get to that point in the goodbye bit, they will stop and think and smile, but they will still need to say something. Because a simple goodbye (or “ok doei”) doesn’t seem to be enough. Maybe it is because of the uncertainty of when we will be seeing each other again. And I have to be honest and tell you that I myself have been guilty of wanting to add something to my “goodbye”.
So now, they will say “we’ll talk on Facebook” or “maybe we will see you in Groningen when you get back”. I guess it’s true, but it is so vague that it won’t take away the uncertainty of when we will be seeing each other again.
And then there are the people with whom I don’t want any uncertainty of seeing them again. I want to already set a specific time to see them when I get back so I can look forward to it and so I know I will see them again in the future. I am going to miss my friends and family so bad and secretly (well, not so much now anymore) I am already a little homesick. And I haven’t even left yet.