When I first started dreaming of going on exchange years ago, I don’t think I once ever thought about saying goodbye to my family and friends. I was so focused on exchange itself, and the fun of it all, that it didn’t seem important at the time. However, now that time is slowly ebbing away and I am leaving in just over two weeks, I have become very emotional about the whole process of saying goodbye.
The longest I have ever been away from home was for one month when I traveled to South Korea when I was sixteen. Even then though I had Kimberly and Christine with me, so I wasn’t completely alone. Usually, I find that I don’t have trouble saying goodbye to my family. I’ve lived and been with them for twenty years now so its about time I leave the nest. I’m used to their company and can go without it for a little while, just to spread my wings a bit. Afterall, five months away isn’t that long, right?
Saying goodbye to my friends isn’t all that difficult either. Everyone’s so busy studying during the semester that I rarely see them anyways, and I am used to saying goodbye to friends after high school. I am also comforted by the fact that I will (hopefully) be making new friends in Amsterdam. Of course I don’t want this to sound as though I am trying to replace my old friends, but only trying to form new friendships.
The hardest goodbye will be to Sean. Already I have been dreading it for over a month. Whenever I think about it I get choked up and try to force the thought away. I know that we will be skyping and messaging constantly, and I will be busy exploring my new surroundings (as well as studying), but I know I will miss him a ton. Once I’m there how I view all of this will probably change, but as it has not happened yet it makes me extremely sad. So much so that sometimes I question why I decided to go on exchange.
I know I will not regret it, but to me, saying goodbye is the first step to being on my own. I’ve never done anything on my own. Never traveled by myself, let alone live on my own. It is a daunting thought and one that frightens me immensely. Which makes saying goodbye all that much harder. It is saying goodbye not only to the people I am used to, but the simple comforts and pleasures of home.
What it all comes down to is that goodbyes are hard, even more difficult than I imagined. But it is something we have to get used to as it is a part of life. This is the jumping off point where new adventures begin.