I recently came back from my second trip to Ommen in the Netherlands. I stayed for almost two weeks there for a personal development training/youth exchange called New Mountain. I will go into details about my experience in the forthcoming days. I simply wanted to write something that’s been bothering me since my first exchange in Hyvärilä, and this time it was an extremely intense feeling. Whether it was the people or the exchange itself, I do not know… Probably the combination of the two.
I remember vividly the time we left Nurmes in June. I was crying for about an hour in Cubi’s arms, not wanting to leave Finland and especially the Russian and Finnish friends I made there… The next two exchanges were not so emotional, now that I look back. Compared to New Mountain, oh no they weren’t. But during the last few hours of each trip, I felt drained. And scared that I will never see them again.
And how the hell do you say goodbye to people you’ll probably never see again? There’s never enough hugs, or pictures, or songs sang together, or enough conversations during lunch, or enough intimate moments. Never. Never enough experiences together… Especially for me, an experience-hungry traveller, who regrets not having spent just enough time with certain people. Then again, what does just enough time mean?
Every time I come back home, EVERY single time, I feel a little bit broken for some days. It’s just it, I can’t help it, just wait until it’s gone (if it is ever gone), because everytime I come back I know some small pieces of myself have been spread far, far away, and most of them will never come back to me. But it’s ok, because every piece far away is a person I’ve shared great moments with, and I wouldn’t change it.
-something Aina posted a few days ago.
It’s funny how you make promises with people. That you will keep in touch, that you’ll visit each other and exchange letters and news often…
The actual amount of people you keep contact with is, of course, another story. In these four trips I have met around 100 people (holy frijoles!*) and I’m communicating with 3, maybe 4 people? After each exchange I get super excited because oh my god I have international friends and we’ll talk and I’ll practice my languages and we’ll visit each other and I will go to Prague and Groningen and Zadar and Eindhoven and Riga and Petrozavodsk and Malta and Sicily and Plovdiv and Romania and Hungary and Barcelona and-
It’s a (tremendously) big decision on both ends to keep in touch, as I realized after all this time. You must devote time and effort, like in your actual everyday relationships, and not everybody is willing to do it. And what if I’m willing but the other person is not, what happens then? Well… I’ve decided that I’ll do my part no matter what. And if the others don’t respond, too bad. I’d say that I have nothing to lose but I do have a friend to lose on each occasion… But I’ll let the flow take care of things. Universe applauds actions, not thoughts!
*I use this phrase irl soemtimes. (Spanglish?) It’s from Puss in Boots.