Tonight I celebrated Anne’s farewell with roommates, as well-as some of her counterparts, and Malagasy friends. Understandably she was exhausted after all of the goodbyes, last minute preparations, and packing but we still made it a night to remember. Being two of the only women foreigners in our town naturally we gravitated towards each other even though we came from completely different backgrounds and have a different mother tongue, we found a way to communicate. It happens like this, you become friends with people you would have never imagined befriending in your own country.
Living abroad really helps one become open to different types of people. The last few days were spent enjoying special dinners, desserts, wine, exchanging presents, and bitter-sweet moments. Even though I’ve known her since last February, for the past three months particularly we’ve become close; spending most dinners together, as well as traveled, and other activities. For the past two weeks we’ve lived in the same house with two new French missionaries. It’s extraordinary how much we’ve shared in such a short period of time. We've learned to rely and trust each other since we were all we had. We sought the words that we needed to express ourselves to each other when we didn’t have them, and as a result both my French and her English has improved tremendously.
As she’s sitting next door to me right now, I ponder to myself what the rest of my service will be like without her. She leaves tomorrow to the capital upon which she will fly straight to her home in Paris. I also sit here and wonder how many farewells I’ve expressed over the past five years since I left my home in Minnesota as well as how many there are to come. I’ve chosen a life of transience and as a result I attract and am attracted to transient people; as I’ve moved between Minnesota, Chicago, Beijing, and Madagascar. This includes anything from family, friendship to relationships. And every time I think I’m getting better at saying good-bye I realize how heart-breaking it is to lose someone. I really shouldn’t think of it as a lost since real friendships stand the test of time and distance. But let’s be honest and say how different it is to actually have some in your presence versus someone thousands of miles away.
Also, because I will live here a lot longer than most foreigners who come here I am the one who is left behind. The emotions between the two parties are very different at the time of departure. Usually I was the one leaving so I couldn’t really comprehend what it was like to be in the other’s shoes. The person leaving is of course sad but is mostly excited about the next step since they are in a transition period. The person who stays knows tomorrow will be the same but without that person.
I know for myself that I will have to make a choice someday where I need to build a permanent (or permanent-like) nest. Instead of acquiring defense mechanisms to make constant transitioning better I feel I’ll just combust. I don’t know when this will happen necessarily since I still have ambitions with continuing my education (and away from home) as well as seeking a career in the international arena. But I have a gut-feeling that I’ll know when to “settle-down” when the time comes… j’espère.