[Photo taken at the summit of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo. 2012]
11 days. 11 until DHSZ breaks up for the summer, and students and staff alike are free to escape, enjoy, and have some time off. HOW?! The goodbyes have begun, and the stress and panic of packing is well underway, for all of us. Goodbyes are weird. Like, this could be the last time you’ll ever be in the presence of this person again, someone who you’ve (probably) been so close to, and spent most of your time with for the past year. With Facebook and other social media platforms now, you’ll still always know what’s going on with them, where they’ve been, probably their big life events shortly after they happen. But maybe never go for a cuppa, a catch up, and just a chill with each other to bitch about the things we need to bitch about. That’s crazy.
I remember when we all went off to uni and went our separate ways back in 2009, everyone was sharing quotes such as:
“You’ll soon realise who your true friends are. Distance makes no difference to real friends. You’ll always make time for those that matter.”
Etc.etc.etc… And it’s true. Throughout different stages of life you slowly filter out the good, the bad, and the unnecessary. University was definitely one of those times, but I guess so will this. Leaving people such as Leah, Candice, Edward, Emily, Shelby, Becks, etc., even the others in my office; Vanessa, Stella, Sophie, Travis… all these people who have become my surrogate family/friends over the past year, it’s weird not knowing who I will still be in contact with 12 months down the line. Will I still speak to Travis every day? No, obviously not, I speak to Travis every day because he sits 2 meters behind me at his desk. But Leah (for example), who I speak to and go for cuppas with, 5 days a week, and often on weekends, will I still be as close to her? Maybe not… But I will still want to know how she’s doing, how her new job is, how her and Zac are, now they can actually see each other! (They’ve been in a long-distance relationship since leaving high school – ouch.) It’s so easy to get caught up with life and loose contact with friends you were once so close to. (Thinking here mainly of Jowitt, Bassett, Harriet Passey, three people who, at one stage of my life, I would have classed as a best friend. I now no longer speak to them, they no longer speak to me, if we were talking about this in the older ways, I’d say we weren’t even on each other’s Christmas card lists.)
That’s sad. The best of friends are those that no matter how much time has passed without contact, you pick up just as you would if you had seen each other yesterday, exactly how you are with close family: Alice, Sophie, Hannah, and Hanna. These 4 humans are ones I know nothing will have changed between us even if we go months without seeing each other. Yes we stay in contact, some more than others. But we all know we’re there for each other no matter what or when they need us. Even if I hadn’t spoken to Hanna in months, if I messaged her now, and said I needed to talk, she would be on the other end of the phone in a heartbeat. (Same, obviously for Hannah, Soph and Alice.) I have a feeling that Shelby and Leah will be like this. I don’t think we’ll speak much when we return back to the real world and things go back to how they were BC. (Before China). But I know we’ll all be interested in each other’s lives, and if we ever needed to call on them, they’d be there.
I’m also hoping this works for physically needing them, and their homes… That’s some of the perks of working internationally no? You make friends with people, spend time with them, and then when they move on, as you do, you automatically have a place to stay somewhere in the world you may never have been? When Liam left, he made sure we knew that there would always be somewhere to crash in Australia if we were to ever need it. Leah and Shelby have also made this offer very clear. Me and mum have also passed on the “open our home to you” message to (pretty much) everyone. Mum has told so many people to come visit her in Switzerland she may need to open up a hotel to put them all up!
Yesterday mum and Shelby shared a final hug, and said their goodbyes. Due to Shelby staying in our “spare bedroom” (Shelby’s room) pretty much every other weekend since August/September, she’s literally become part of the family. My family and friends feel like they know her, and she felt like she knew Hannah and Soph before they even met. Shelby’s ever so sweet mum (mom: Nancy) has already told me, via Shelby, that there is always a place for me to stay in their home. And mum has made sure Shelby knows she is welcome wherever mum is, with or without me. That’s what international work and living is about, making such strong connections and friends, in such a short period of time that you’ll never be stuck for somewhere to go, or someone to call upon. You just have to make sure you’re prepared to do the same.
Next summer, if I’ve managed to save some money after working in Foshan for a year, I hope to be able to afford to go home, via America. The West. The far far west. I’ve never been further West than Europe. That’s crazy and sad, and I need to right this fact. I know it will never be easy, or cheap, or an ideal time due to people’s different and difficult work schedules, but it needs to be done. Before this year, America had never really interested me that much. I knew there were beautiful spots, incredible parks, and interesting cities, especially New Orleans, but, I don’t know… It seemed too similar to the norm to warrant the flight! But, after this year of two of my best friends being from the States, I feel it deserves a trip! America is not Britain. It is its own, very different entity, and I’m ready to see it. It’s just so god damn big though! I wouldn’t even know where to start or where to put on my list. I think that’s why I’d need a guide.
I won’t say I’ve done the East, because I feel like that is an impossible task. But I think after this summer, and next year of being based in Foshan, I’ll be able to say I’ve experienced the East, and made a good dent. I say that America is big, but the bloody world is just ridiculous. I sat for almost an hour in front of a map of Europe last year, and came to the conclusion you could actually, quite happily, spend most of your life only travelling Europe, and you’d still never finish. Yes you’d be able to visit each country, but you’d never truly understand, experience, and know each country. There is always more travelling to be done. I’m actually ashamed of how little travelling I’ve done around Britain and Europe. Britain especially, all I needed to have done was hopped in a car and go for a few weeks. What a waste of summers and school holidays not doing this! If/when I do go back to the UK for a more permanent situation, seen as I’ll probably have no set room of my own, I should probably make sure to do this!
Talking of home… SAM PUT IN AN OFFER FOR A HOUSE. Like an actual adult house, home, 3 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, a garden, THE WORKS! That’s so adult of her. It’s crazy! She tried to ring and tell me while I was at Ganesh having a lovely, last get together meal, with Candice, Edward, Leah, Shelb and Em. We were given one of the little floor tables in the fancy surrounds to eat at, and it was so nice; wine, food, shisha and plenty of chatting and laughing, all before heading to the Camel, obviously.
How exciting/scary is it that by the time I next see Sam, she could be a home owner. She would actually own, and have a house. Somewhere that is hers, not the landlords, but hers. I’m hoping I’m going to be able to store my beloved trunk in her home, if she gets this house, I’ll have to ask pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top!
So, you may have noticed (Nana) that I have been pretty behind/laps on my “Blog-A-Day-Prompt” over the past few days. I’ve missed the following words:
Honestly, looking at those words, I’m not 100% sure what I would have written about. Maybe I’ll save them as back up for future prompt words, if there is one I really don’t want to do, I have these 4 to pick from as a replacement. Good thinking Parker. I think when I move down to Foshan, (or South Wales if we’re feeling positive/optimistic), I’ll have so much alone time that I’ll make even more use of this blog. It’s kind of just like replacing someone you would tell everything to, or ramble on at throughout the day, with the internet. It’s a good place to channel everything into, and make sense of the day. At the moment there is almost too much to process, in work, out of work, future work, and, my favourite, travelling!
So, on June 18th, in 11 days, I will have completed my Internship at Duwlich International High School Suzhou, and I will wave goodbye to my desk in AMC,and be jumping on a plane to Thailand for, what will hopefully be, an amazing Full Moon Party, and travelling experience, obviously!
11 days. Let’s do this…