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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

What a month!  Just to look back at this month now = awe. It was an array of emotions, some really mixed feelings, and I am going to go into detail of every one of them.

[It has been a while, and I’m throwing you my excuses straight up—my last month in Poland was spent road-tripping and saying goodbyes to family, most of the time without a greater internet connection.] But here we go!

The first feeling was despair. After leaving Kraków, I felt so lost. I loved my life there, I really did, everything about it. To be leaving was signalling the end of that life. Everyone moved on their separate ways, finding jobs here or there, or moving back to their countries and continents. It was over. And I was sad. I mourned, I really did. I didn’t want to accept it, and I didn’t know how to go about leaving. It seems really melodramatic to look back on now but that is honestly what I felt.

The next feeling was a sudden and rapid emotion that took over my depression—longing for home. Now that everyone had got to go home after uni was over (to their homes across Poland or across the world) I was jealous that I couldn’t be experiencing the same thing. It was over 9 months ago, after all, since I had seen everyone last (with the exception of my dad, who came to visit for Christmas). I felt like I was lulling around, homeless in a sense, going from one family home to the next, living out of my suitcase.

I guess I was just sick of goodbyes and I wanted hellos. Not to say though that I didn’t enjoy the month road-tripping across Poland. It was incredible. It was hard to be longing for home but enjoying the travelling at the same time. It made me go through mood swings as fast as weather changes.

My aunt took Dorothy and I on a road trip up north to the sea, which we did swim in, and it was beautiful, so so beautiful. The sandy beaches with squeaky sand, YES squeaky white sand, the fight against giant waves crashing in to you, the tanning, the smell of the sea, the wind, I loved it all. I love salty waters![1] I love vacation! It was relaxation to the max. We even went on a sandy peninsula and walked by beach to the border with Russia! (The border consisted of a fishing net fence, and a sign, ha!). We also spent a day in Gdańsk, an amazing and beautiful city, and went to Malbork, home to the biggest castle in Europe (by surface area) and holder of the largest bricks in Europe! After returning back to Rzeszów and Wrocław, my time was spent saying last goodbyes, meeting family in other towns and villages nearby (ish), soaking up their presence for the last time and them mine. I don’t want to talk too much about it, because it makes me sad to remember. I miss them.

As the days were growing less by what seems an immeasurable speed, I began to feel that I really didn’t want to leave Poland. Leaving was putting a stamp on the end of my life there, on the Europe-life, a final goodbye to friends, an end of the close connections and communications with my family – most of which, as mentioned earlier, don’t have internet and communicate nearly 100% face to face. (I think I’m going to take up letter writing.)

Then the moods reversed. The growing intensity of just wanting to be home and wanting the goodbyes to be over, came back, stronger. Every night I started to dream about home, just being there, doing the simplest of things. I swear I envisioned myself buying a French Vanilla at Tim Hortons or ‘sex in a pan’ at the Elephant Ear cafe, or speaking to the most random people in passing on the street. I missed small town Terrace. I dreamt at night and daydreamed in the day—it was all I could think about. I was beyond ready for hellos.

With this longing for home however, came a mixed feeling of something like nervousness. I was really worried that people had changed. I had heard most of my friend group had split off for various reasons, I heard reviews that some of my friends had drastically changed, and I was worried that things just wouldn’t be the same with those people I didn’t keep in touch with. A lot can change in a year, I kept thinking. And I wasn’t completely lost as to whether or not I had changed.

Lastly I was not keen for the long ordeal/journey home. I usually love flying, I really do. But this time I was nervous, really nervous, which is really abnormal but that’s the truth. I think it just meant more this time, there were so many unanswered hopes and fears that all the nervousness I had been feeling the past couple weeks transformed into a sudden fear of the flight home[2].

Even while writing this, tears come to my eyes. Tears were in my eyes when I left Poland and they were in my eyes when my plane landed in Terrace, BC, home. Leaving and arriving has never been so hard. I didn’t know what was coming when I left last year, I really didn’t. I was ready for the adventure but I did not expect the end to be so fatally emotional.

Right now, I am so so SO happy. Despite the tears—every tear I’ve cried since I’ve returned home has been a tear of joy. I’ve never been so happy in my life. (I’ve never cried this much, Jesus). There are no words to describe how happy I was to see my family and friends, to see that nothing has changed. I was so worried that things would be different but everything fell back into place like I had never left. I feel so loved and happy and just blessed to have all the people in my life that I do.

That’s basically it. We end there. I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do with this blog. The journey is over. I documented my experiences and feelings as best as I could. And I’m glad I’ll have this all to look back on. Right now, I think I’ll leave the blog be, maybe post a few photos from my road trip once I download them, and go back and post more from the year, or Switzerland, or just keepsakes. When I start off on my Europe trip in six months, I’ll start a new blog. (I really like new blogs for new occasions).

Though I’m not really sure who my random readers from across the world have been, thank you to those who have stuck with me on this escapade from home. Making the move to Poland is something I’ll never forget nor regret—it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Cheers & take care,

Asia

Endnote: There is one more thing I thought of to add to this post. Yesterday I was reading a quote that has been on my fridge for years that I was never really fond of before. “Ships in harbour are safe. But that’s not what ships were built for.” I remember never really liking it, and was never really sure what the author intended. Now though, I can expand. Maybe we feel safest at home, maybe we never want to leave, but humans were made for exploring, to delve in the unknown, to challenge our barriers and perimeters, and I think that anyone who seeks to do that will never be left unsatisfied with the journey that ensues. End sentimental note.


[1] Haha, couldn’t decide if I wanted to say ‘ocean’ or ‘sea’ so I went with ‘salty waters’ lol.

[2] Obviously the fears diminished as soon as I was up in the air—my love of flying will never die.

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Okay. Where to start. I realize it’s been a while since I last wrote, a long while, and it definitely feels longer than it actually was, likely because this was the first (and longest) break I’ve taken from blogging. I had a total of one post for November. One! For October, I had ten. I think December will be better. Though I’m also quite busy these upcoming weekends, December is a more promising month because there are more things that excite me and inspire me. Winter[1],all the awesome things you can do with snow (sledding, snowmen, snowball fights, ski….), Christmas, winter break, and New Years Eve! Woop woop! And referring back to an earlier post, the ‘coziness of winter’ pretty much urges you to curl up in your blankets, hot mug of tea on hand, and write. So we’ll see how December will go for me.

It’s been two and a half months since I left! Maybe a bit more. And in that time, I’ve thought of my friends more times than I can count. Memory after memory came sprawling into my mind at uncalled for moments, catching me off guard, making me analyze things and see more than I did before. Analyze situations, friendships, personalities, emotions, all that good stuff! But also appreciate my friends back home a lot more, and really miss their presence, comments, humour, smiles, etc. Maybe that’s why when people leave, they often move back. It’s really hard to abandon your former life, with your mind almost carelessly dropping a boatful of memories at every opportunity. You see things in your memories and feel things you didn’t before. All these strings tying and pulling us back to home. Letting go of those attachments is hard.

I’m not saying I want to let go, in fact; I’ve always been more of the person that holds on tighter to those connections. I keep in touch with people like no one else I’ve ever met. When I was still living in Terrace, and over the years as friends moved away, I emailed, I phoned people on their birthdays, I wrote letters. I did this since the time I was eight, when one of my best friends moved away, another best friend a year later[2], and when I met another best friend at summer camp. And when people came back to visit, whether it was a year later, or five, they often told me I was one of the few that put in an effort.

Yes, keeping in touch is really difficult, especially if you’re the one that left. Balancing your old connections and new ones was never easy. But when people put in that effort, it is really appreciated. And I know that more so now.

I won’t lie. I am a little disappointed with some of my friends, some of my closest friends, that have barely put in an effort. I don’t mean to demote them from their good-friend-status, but there’s a little bit more distance now, when we talk, when we write, and rarely that is. It’s an awkward thing between the two of us, that elephant in the room. We throw excuses of our new busy lives, of parties, work, exams, all that, lest we acknowledge it. With our excuses, we try to justify the fact that someone just wasn’t putting in the effort.

And I imagine myself going back, and hanging out with those people. With some people, that friendship will just fall back into place like I never left. Some people are people better experienced in person—long-distance communication really isn’t there thing. And I can differentiate those people from those that are communicators, so to speak. But with some people, there will be a new distance[3]. The lack of effort during my time away will show. And I just worry, will that distance slip between us and never leave.

Another thing I experienced to do with friends, memories, and missing people, is I caught myself missing moments shared with one of my (at-the-time) best friends, Jenny. I have some of the fondest of memories with this girl, to be topped by none. When we were friends, we connected on a completely different level, this understanding I’ve never had with another friend before. We were very different but balanced each other out perfectly, in a way. We just fit together, that’s honestly what it felt like.

At first, I thought I missed her. But what I came to realize is, I didn’t really miss her. I missed the person she used to be. Not her, but her old self. The one I was best friends with. Maybe it was over the summer, or maybe the roots can be traced back to the end of highschool, but things just weren’t fitting the same anymore. Where we used to comfort each other, we aggravated each other. Where honesty used to be the highway of our friendship, lies ran it over. We got into little fights that wouldn’t resolve themselves, like they used to. I felt the change in her, but couldn’t pinpoint what it was. And perhaps there was a little change in me too.

It’s weird when a friend changes, how we sometimes can move past it. How the change strengthens the friendship. It’s funny how with some people, one small change, whatever it is, can mean the difference of a friendship. And that’s what it was with her. It was sudden, and unexpected, and I still mourn the connection we had. But I am also aware that I have realized it, accepted it, and moved on. We are still friends, just not best friends. We know there’s a difference, and I think because we both acknowledged it, we both moved harmlessly on. There is no one clinging to what once was. [4] I will always look back with fondness on the friendship. When I’m fifty and see a photo of us together, it will be a smile-and-look-back moment.

Sure, part of me still wishes things can go back to the way they were, and maybe hope a little that they will. But I think the bigger part knows what’s passed is in the past. I’ve never really had troubles with moving on from a friendship before. I guess before it always felt natural. It was a gradual process, where as this one happened quickly.

As much as I hate to think it, part of me says this is only the beginning. Sure, over the next few years, all my friends will be hovering around Terrace. We’ll see each other in the summers, keep in touch, etcetera. But as time carries us further, we’re going to end up in different places, make new connections, that might gradually replace the old ones. Not all of them, but add another layer into the complicated mix of the old and new. We won’t be seeing each other semi-reguarly, kept up to date. And I’m afraid time will fly and that we won’t even notice how fast friendships are passing us by.

Where is the line? How much are we allowed to hold on, and how much should we let go? Some people can drop their former life and treat it as it never existed. Other clings hard to the old. But where is the balance?


[1] I really can’t wait for some permanent snow to be around here.

[2] The perks of living in a community with a  bad economy.

[3] When we used to talk every day, and not need to be caught up, there will now be gaps. Oh, when did that happen? / How did I not hear about that? What do you mean you aren’t speaking to your dad anymore? –those kind of things.

[4] No one likes a clinger!

 

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I’m starting to feel better about things. I know; when did I ever let on that I was feeling not-so-great about things? I sometimes am not honest with myself[1]. That is, I don’t really admit feelings I have. I see two sides to it, and always stick with side one.

1) I am in a completely new place, with new people, new scenery, learning a new language, getting to know my family, my history, in Europe, that thing I’ve always wanted to do. And it’s only been two weeks here, by the time I have to leave, I won’t want to. I’m in another freaking country.

2) I don’t know anyone. The people that I spent 95% of my time with, my friends, aren’t here. Ninety-five percent. Especially towards the end of summer, the time I had to leave, I was constantly out during the day. I felt like my house was for the purpose of sleeping only, and even that wasn’t definite. Basically, it is a little lonely being cooped up in this 9 by 11 room, or whatever it is.

And what side have you heard? Side one. Because that’s all I let myself hear. It’s like, if I admit those negative thoughts are there… it becomes real. So I don’t. I push them away, not so much ignore them, just not accept them[2].  Yeah, it’s probably unhealthy. And better yet, when the feelings I’m ignoring are gone, in this case the negative ones, I can wholly admit they were there in the first place. But only once they’re gone[3]. Yeah, does that ever sound healthy!

Anywho, back to the land of positivity! Basically, I’ve just met some really great people today. And that makes me feel better. Because, so far, the little-over-two-weeks time that I’ve been here… I haven’t really met anyone. And part of me was loving the alone time and finally being able to catch up on all the shows I’ve wanted to watch. But let’s be honest: I’m a people person, and up until now, I haven’t really met anyone that nice, open, friendly… the qualities I kind of thought most university students possessed. Wrong idea? Too optimistic? Anyways, I don’t even know if I’ll hang with these people again, it’s just nice to know that nice people exist. Seriously. I had an awesome evening.

I went to the kitchen to cook some hotdogs…only to discover that the pot—whose residence is strictly the kitchen—was stolen. And even the cutting board! I didn’t bring any cooking utensils or pots with me, I didn’t have the baggage weight to spare. So now how am I supposed to cook dinner for the rest of the year[4]? I asked a couple people moving in and out of the kitchen if they had seen them. Nope. Anyway, one girl offers to lend me her pan, and ta-da! Discussion time. Here are the 5 most popular questions everyone asks everyone in this dormitory:

“Where are you from?”

“What do you speak?”

“What are you studying?

“Why are you studying in Poland?”

Okay so there’s four questions usually asked in either English, Polish, Chinese, Turkish, Belarusian, Ukranian, Russian, and Bulgarian. At question five, people start getting creative.

So she asked me, this complete stranger in the kitchen, to just return her pan when I was done, and she gave me her room number. A half hour passes, I eat my food, wash the pan, and go to return it[5]. Then, on her doorstep, I am offered soup. I step inside, am introduced to her charismatic roommate—who totally reminds me of someone I know, can’t pinpoint who, clashed with a vlogger-personality. That’s the best I could bring it down to. This story is getting boring. Basically I met their two neighbours, the Chinese guy who always cook amazing-looking-food in the kitchen, roommate’s good friend, and others. And eventually, I had a decent conversation with all of them. In English. They all speak excellent English, the slightest of accents, and it’s not anyone’s first language! It felt so nice. Just to converse, naturally, in English, be able to say what I wanted to say, without having to dumb it down for the foreigner[6]. I hope that didn’t come out rude, but since I got here, I’ve met a lot of people who can’t speak Polish; but many of these people know a little bit of English. But in order to communicate, you have to bring down what you want to say to the bare minimum. Think of words you would learn in school, no slang, and speak slowly and clearly. Not my forte.

So, in conclusion. I feel good about things. Contrary to what my great-aunt said, there are some incredibly nice people here and, even though I didn’t earlier mention it, I’m starting to like my teachers more, getting to know my classmates, and I’m even getting used to sharing a bathroom with three other people now[7]. The only difficulty remains in remembering what language everyone speaks. There have been way too many times when I’ve said, “Czesc” to the English-speakers, and “Hi” to the Polish-speakers, among other things.

Asia


[1] I know. That is such a contradiction to what I always say. What the heck.

[2] Never treat people this way.

[3] These feelings are of all varieties. Nope, I’m not angry. What, so not upset with you. No, I do not feel any interest in you whatsoever.  No, it’s fine. [Not so straight up as my examples there… it’s usually like this deep internal battle to deny, deny, deny.] Wow, was that a way too truth-filled footnote or what. This is why you don’t give in to your random writing urges at 1:30am.

[4] You guys know I don’t cook. Hot dogs don’t count, I know. But I had it in my mind to try soup, and chicken breast, and other things. Easy student food.

[5] In between that, I had a very small, but pleasant, conversation with my Polish next door neighbour. This guy I’ve barely talked to, seemed a lot nicer than I thought he was at first. Good realizations.

[6] And be able to use adjectives other than “very” and “really”. Such a good feeling. [See title]

[7] If there’s a chance to use the bathroom, take it.

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