If you’re ever considering moving to London you need to be good at two things:
1. Making friends and
2. Saying goodbye
Making friends is the easy part. You start off completely alone. Not knowing anyone. It’s scary and exhilarating at the same time. You feel so alone, yet you’re excited at the prospect of finding new people to call your friends. You literally get the opportunity to create your own family.
You try not to but it’s hard to not be attracted to other Aussies and Kiwis. It’s very magnetic. And easy! Simply because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all far from home, with no near desire to buy a house, get married or start a family. And we all share the same love. A love for travel!
My friend making process was made even easier by moving into a house with 3 amazing flat mates; two Kiwi girls and one Melbourne girl. At the time I had no idea that these three would soon become my closest friends in London. My rocks. I always called them my ‘Putney Girls.’
The rest of the friend making process soon becomes like a virus. Three becomes six, six becomes 12 and so on. You make a new friend, they introduce you to their friends and the process continues.
Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by people from different countries, traditions and upbringings. Because of this you begin to learn. I remember one day realising that each person inspired me in their own little way. For example one re-sparked my love for writing (and hence this blog was begun). Others taught me to live in the moment and “just be a little silly.” I was shown the importance of “down time,” inspired to get creative in the kitchen, shown that age doesn’t define maturity and learnt that nothing defeats a kind heart.
And it’s all of these things that make saying goodbye so difficult. I always thought that each goodbye would get easier. But how very wrong I was! Each goodbye is a challenge and only gets harder as you begin to say goodbye to those you’ve grown closer to. Despite knowing that it’s only goodbye for now, you can’t help but feel down as you realise how different the London family will feel without them.
I’ve learnt a few techniques to help ease the pain. The main one used is the:
“See you next week!” trick.
It’s simple. And quick. No lengthy goodbye hugs. No tears. Just a standard hug and kiss goodbye as if you’re to see them again in a few days. You then proceed to walk away holding back any tears you might feel until you’re completely out of sight. Cue tears!
I like this one because if you think it’s hard enough to say goodbye to one person, think about how challenging it must be for the one saying goodbye to the whole group! The last thing they need is a blubbering mess standing in front of them, which will only set them and everyone else off. So “see you next week,” or “next time” or “soon” is the way to go. Feel free to steal this if you need (Especially when it comes to my turn to leave the country!).
Saying goodbye. Whether you’re good at it or not, it’s all part of the amazing experience of living abroad. And as hard as it is, it’s all worth it for the happy memories you’ll be forever left with. Recently someone reminded me of the quote, “It’s better to have loved and lost, then to never love at all.” I feel like this quote can be used for this situation too. Except there’s no loss. It’s just goodbye for now…