Four years later I realize how special an evening it was. A chance to say goodbyes. Something that isn’t going to happen in 2021.
Before moving to Germany we had an “open house” at our home in Ottawa. Anyone who wanted to see us one last time could do so. The place was packed.
It isn’t as if we hadn’t been saying goodbyes during the previous month, but people are busy and you don’t always connect. We wanted to give our friends once last chance.
That isn’t going to happen this time around. The one-one-one goodbyes, yes, but there are some people we still haven’t connected with, and there is less than a week before our flight.
Pandemic rules mean we can’t just tell everyone to drop by for one last party. Parties won’t be legal for another couple of months. At least that is my guesstimate.
We have been trying to say goodbye to individuals for the past month, but it is tough. Each time the people say they hope to see us once more time before we leave. Sometimes that has been possible, but now that is less likely.
Suddenly the imminence of our departure is hitting home. So many people have called to invite uis for dinner or to go for a walk – and we just don’t have the free minutes anymore. The smart people asked us three weeks ago.
As an introvert I’m not all that sorry that the goodbyes are subdued, but it is hard on my wife. I’m more casual about relationships and the distance between here and Canada is less daunting.
However, the impending departure does have me thinking about relationships and the nature of friendship. I think poerhaps all of us have a heightened appreciation of our friends given what we have all gone through in the past 18 months.
There are people I will miss. Some I will miss a lot. I may even shed a few tears. But I knew in 2017 that this day would come, even if I didn’t know when. If I never see my friends again (at least in this life) it will be sad, but not devastating.
I do wish though we could have a party. It would be nice to be able to gather all our friends in the same room and tell them how much the past four years have meant to us. I can leave Germany with no regrets – but I wish I could bring my friends with me.
My struggles with the language (which I have mentioned here often) mean it has taken longer for me to make friends. Some relationships are now almost at the point where they could blossom into deep friendships, and instead I’m getting on a plane. That is frustrating.
At least there is the comfort of knowing that we can stay in touch so easily using modern technology. The last time I moved back to Canada from another continent was more than 30 years ago. Our only option then was mail – and that wasn’t being delivered in a country in the throees of a civil war.
So I know that next week is not really goodbye, but Auf Wiedersehen, which translates literally (if I have it right) as “to see again.” We can stay in touch.
But I still wish we could have had a party.