Life takes us on long journeys away from home and all familiarity. It drops us in the midst of a completely different society and culture and expects us to just cope. It’s never that easy, is it? To just leave behind your parents, your dog, your old friends, your home. Just to get a piece of paper with fancy lettering on it. Supposedly as proof of your education and knowledge.
2 years is how long I’m having to spend in this faraway land. “It’s beautiful” they said. “The people are very friendly” they said. What’s beauty if it’s only skin deep? I’ve travelled a lot before. And enjoyed it. But now that I’m here, I’ve realised that I enjoy travelling given that I’m going to be back at home at the end. But now? What do I have to look forward to at the end of the day? Home? This ain’t home.
As the days go by, I find myself relying more and more on the internet to connect with family and friends. To stay up to date on the news back at home. To dig out old photos off of the cloud. Just for those few moments of warmth and comfort. Something I haven’t yet found here; something that could never be replaced or substituted. My motor runs on the knowledge that I get to go home every 3 months on vacation.
Will I ever be absorbed into this foreign culture? Will I ever be a part of this new land? Possible. But I won’t let that happen. Because, at the end of two years, whether or not I learn enough to get a degree, I have already learned the value of my homeland. I have understood that my motherland is the only place where I will ever belong.
And so, for my true home, I am longing.
We’ve all been there. You find these amazing new people to hang out with and talk to. You make memories to cherish. You go places with them. Then, when it’s time to leave, the goodbyes sadden you. A week on, WhatsApp and Instagram are your saviours, helping you stay in touch, at least indirectly. Then the messages get fewer and further apart. The stories on Instagram are no longer relevant to you. They move on and leave you behind. The invitations home and the future plans all turn to dust blowing past your face as you desperately attempt to catch up. And so you just stop. Stop to catch your breath. Stop for a final wave goodbye. And you take a different path.
Or do you? Why is it that we feel people don’t care about us when they stop talking to us? People always need a reason to talk to you. People have lives. People have other people. They can’t afford to stop and think about you everyday. The messages might get fewer and further apart, but that doesn’t mean the memories have faded away. People do care. People do remember. People change, yes, but who you are to them, that doesn’t change. So when you stop to catch your breath, remember, catching up isn’t what you’re supposed to do. You have your own path to follow. And somewhere in the future, closer than you think, paths are bound to intersect. And when they do, all the memories, all the emotions, they come rushing back. In that moment, you realise, love isn’t temporary.
People leave. But they leave not to leave you behind.
Another year over. 365 days of triumph, happiness, sorrow, struggles, highs and lows. For most of us though, it was just another dreary year of doing the same things over and over again.
When will we be rid of the monotony? When will we just stop…just stop and take a moment to see the world around us…see it and not just look? Will it ever happen?
I took such a moment towards the end of 2017. I reflected on the things that I see but notice everyday. Pain, loss, death, tragedy. From hundreds of people out in warzones to the tiny sapling in our backyard, struggling to exist. It is just poetically sad.
World peace will never exist. That is an absolute truth. Like how there can never be an ideal machine that is 100% efficient. It is one of those things coded into the weave of existence by the creator (whoever/whatever).
But we can get awfully close to it by simply extending our love of life, our desire for a better world and our passion for everything in it- by simply extending all of that to the dozen people we talk to everyday. It isn’t hard. It is gratifying. It is like how Portia from the Merchant of Venice puts it- “Mercy is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives and him that receives.”
The smallest things make the biggest difference. Let us, together, hand in hand, make the world a better place as every day of 2018 goes by. One conversation- at the right place and time- can change lives. One hug. One handshake. One smile.
One love. #2018
And so, it ended. 14 days of pure euphoria.
Barriers broken, places explored, people met, friendships-for-life made; mind opened.
Endings are always sad. But they go on to show just how much you cared. For the people you met, the places you went, the food you ate and the life you lived.
And that is priceless. And that is how endings lead you on to new beginnings of stories you never thought you would tell.
Cheers to endings.