That word tastes bitter in my mouth, but it is a word that I do know… Extensively. One I know personally and repetitively. When you move 13 times in your life, you wonder a lot what building your life in one place feels like. The thought of “what if” lingers in your head… What if I would have finished high school in the same one I started? What if I went to college in the same town many of my American friends go to? What if I had a friend I knew since I was 6? What does that feel like?
Since I’ve started seeing my boyfriend, I’ve met friends he’s known since he was little… Say, 5-6 years old was when they met. When they ask me where in the states I come from, the same conversation ensues… I’ve moved 13 times, I’m Spanish/American… Yadayadayada. This post isn’t another one of those “I’m confused about my nationality!” If you would like to read that, I would propose reading A Beautiful Mess, a post I wrote a few months ago.
Anyways, a conversation he and I had the other day were things we loved about ourselves. I had to think about it for a while, and it ended up being because I’ve moved around a lot. It’s a ying-yang situation. Yes, I moved around a lot and I’ve had to make friends from scratch but at the same time, I’ve been able to bring to the table experiences and world views that aren’t as “usual” in just one culture. I do get somewhat… Jealous when I hear stories of friends having been together for a long time. It’s not a bad jealous really though, hence why I had to think about the word. It’s more of a “healthy jealousy” as my mom would say. It’s nice that they get to have someone who has seen them through multiple stages of their lives… But I have to realize that I got to do what many people only dream of doing, and that’s starting from scratch. What I have to say about that… You can move multiple times or none at all, you’ll never be able to run from what you wish you could, because most times what people want to run from is themselves. A new endroit, as the French say place, changes nothing. You’ve brought the one thing you were running from. But I will say, going to a new place and making new friends… You learn more than what you would have staying at home. Which comes to the point of this post: as I had this coversation, it hit me that this year is almost up. I luckily can stay a second year, but many of the girls who helped me with my transition and understood the struggles of being abroad and of my job are leaving. Most have figured out what they’re doing and where they’re going.
I had wine with some of my girlfriends Friday night and as we caught up, all I could think about were all the amazing moments we’ve had this year, how much we have all grown. I kept thinking about our awkward transitions here, the toughness of the language and difference in culture to how we ended up running through the streets of Paris, missing the last metro, figuring how to get home, losing keys, being homeless during Christmas, heels that hurt, sleeping on floors, picnics by monuments, 17 hour bus rides, those long lines at museums, ditching them because we can go another day, trying to cook in tiny kitchens, being fancy, laughing until we cried… I could go on.
These girls have changed my life. I went from being the girl who would rather have guy friends “because less drama” to the girl who realized we need our girlfriends. I know this isn’t goodbye. This is a see ya later. This is a, “call me when you’re in Paris and I’ll be here and I’ll call you when I’m there” sort of thing. I may have not known them since I was 5, but these girls sure have seen me through a lot.
This isn’t goodbye.