I have had a song stuck on repeat in my head for the last two weeks. It’s from the Muppets Take Manhattan when the characters have decided to go their separate ways. They sing about why saying goodbye is so difficult over a montage of farewell scenes. I suppose it is fairly obvious why this song has been on my mind. I’m approaching my departure date and have spent much of my time this week in my own series of farewell scenes among my friends.
I have been struggling to maintain my excitement about my upcoming adventure amid these scenes. It’s not that I don’t want to go or that I resent leaving, but saying goodbye to friends and family is incredibly difficult. I would not describe myself as a social butterfly or even as a consistent goer-outer, but the knowledge that it will be at the very least a few months and at the most a year before I can see people face to face is a bit heartbreaking.
The one saving grace is the advancements in technology. I was speaking only last night to a friend who also spent time abroad in England for her undergrad and graduate work. At the time, Facebook was still something new and existed only on college campuses and there was no Skype. I’m lucky in that I will still be able to interact with everyone at least electronically. I’ll be able to chat, Face Time (once I have a smart phone that is), Skype, like statuses on Facebook, and IM. It has been very comforting knowing I’ll be able to communicate instantly and even see people as I do it. (Might even be fun to pretend I’m on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise while I do it!)
(Incoming Skype call)
“On screen. This is Captain Jen T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.”
“Jen this is your friend. For the last time, you don’t have a starship. You’re sitting in your dorm room.”
“Q! Have you transported me into one of your fantasies again? And really, this was the best you could do: campus digs in the Northeast of England? Return me to my ship immediately!”
Sorry I digress. Now, where was I? Ah, right.
Despite all of this, I am still having some lingering sadness. There is no substitute for seeing the people I love in person. I have a friend who recently bought a house and it has been exciting to see how she has made it her own. I’m sad that I won’t be there to see how she continues to transform it into a beautiful, comfortable home. I have other friends who are expecting and will deliver while I’m away. I wish I could be there to meet their new addition. Another friend of mine is an aspiring opera singer. It would be so nice to see her performances this next year and cheer her on as her career develops. I have another friend who is in a performance the weekend after I leave and I so wish I could hear her hit her high B flat. I’m sad I won’t see my nieces learn new things in second grade and my nephew begin to look for colleges. I am worried about leaving my animals, even though I know they will be well looked after. Chase is reaching the age where he may start to develop medical problems and I want to be here if he does. And how will I see Enzo’s and Lamborghini’s latest shenanigans if I’m halfway across the world?
There are adventures waiting for me in England and I know that even if I can’t physically be here for my friends and family, I can be here virtually. A year will fly by and before I know it I’ll be writing similar words about leaving the fabulous friends I am about to meet in the UK. I think what all of these partings have shown me is that I am loved and I have a network of wonderful, supportive people. It really isn’t so much goodbye as it is, signing off here and signing back on there. There is a lot I’m going to miss. I feel a bit foolish for being upset but I guess that just means I have a good life here. And if I have a good life here, I am sure to have a good life there because the only difference between here and there is “tea.”
And on that pun, I leave you. Thank you to all of the wonderful friends and my family for being the awesome people you are. Love you all.