Saying goodbye is hard

Men hugging

I’ll be leaving for Adelaide in a few days and that heavy feeling in the pit of my chest is beginning to form, tugging at my heart strings. It’s only a matter of time until the waterworks takeover. Funny thing is this isn’t going to be my first time saying goodbye. I’ve done it heaps but it’s still so hard every time I have to. 

People say an act, or a practice becomes easier if we do it often like typing on a keyboard or riding a bike, but I don’t think that principle applies when it comes to separating with your loved ones. I’ll be in my final year and this will be the third time I’ll be bidding my family goodbye at the airport (this doesn’t include all the times I had to say goodbye to my friends when they were leaving or when I was leaving them)

I suppose Covid had something to do with it. When I left for the first time, in 2020, I obviously felt hints of homesickness here and there but in the back of my mind, I was comforted by the certainty that my family would come visit a month later. They had bought tickets and gotten their visas approved even before I left. That effort and comfort became redundant as I would come to know and ever since then, separation has become such a momentous deal for me because I can’t be certain when we’ll meet again. 

We love blaming Covid, don’t we?

Knowing that you won’t have your support system within reach might also be the reason why it’s so hard to say goodbye. I won’t deny how different my life is in Adelaide as compared to that in Malaysia. I love both but back home, I am constantly surrounded by my closest circle of humans – my parents, my sisters, my cousins – and it’s never a dull day. The house is always loud, always chaotic. So, to know that I would have to let that go soon and retreat back into solitude fills me with sorrow.

But learning to say goodbye is good. It means I had been brave enough to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself, right? That I do not confine myself to only the things and the people I know. 

Mustering the courage to say goodbye has given me the chance to explore the world and myself. I would not have known the joy of a good beach day or the frustration of having to go to class on a cold, rainy and windy winter had I not taken the leap of faith to study abroad alone. Most importantly, I would not have known that I could survive living in a city that goes to sleep at 5pm had I not left. 

It's hard and I don’t foresee ever getting better at it, but these goodbyes are often imparted for good reasons and that would be enough to assure me. Until then, I would be thankful for technology for giving me the chance to see and talk to my loved ones whenever and wherever.  

Tagged in What messes with your head, separation, international student