Oxford has a cyclic nature… People here come and go, a lot more than in other places I've lived. I find that one of the hardest things about living here. I guess you may think it's the gloomy winter and the lack of summer (although one cannot complain after June-July 2010) what ruins it for me here, but I can just about cope with that if I make sure I go home for my sun fix…
I don't make friends easily. I can talk to a lot of people, but friends are a different story. Friendship requires time and effort and dedication and quite frankly I don't give those out lightly. Friendships need to be nourished and looked after and that is not something everyone deserves of everyone else, me in this case. I invest in people and naturally I get attached. When they go I can be happy for them if that was their choice, but oh my do I become sad and blue and quiet inside (which admittedly can be a good thing for my sanity but it's so out of character I can't but worry!).
M from Italy was the first to go; I still miss him, but his parting was quite sheltered by the fact it had been just him at that point. I didn't really realise then how much a part of Oxford goodbyes really are. Not a year later P from France left, followed by E from France (indeed I have learned to love the French and I'm sticking to it now!) and M from Holland; R from England (the only girl to part so far) left shortly after that. Big bang on Little Miss Joey's head. And then the heavens fell completely on the already fragile Little Miss Joey – M from Belgium went back home too. I am still happy for my boys and girl, but I have to say I miss them dearly. Even when I'm rubbish at emailing and contact is sparse. I miss them.
You'd think I'd be used to it by now, with all the goodbyes I've done in such a short time, and a few more recently, namely S from Germany at the end of last year, but no. Oh no, it's still drama in my little heart every time it happens. I don't take it well. I'm learning to cope with it in a less harsh manner, but a lot of work needs to be done.
Only this week, D from England (a nation also represented in the group!) went back home. It's only London, just over there. And yet I'm experiencing that all too familiar feeling of emptiness and vague nostalgia for all the things you gain from seeing people all the time. Not to say friendship cannot be looked after from a distance, it can, and I have, with dear dear friends, but at the moment you give that final hug before geography joins you, I cry a little. And there you go, another fact and it's not even Monday!
little note: yes, I know new people arrive too, but this is a post about goodbyes and I'm focussing on that. if you wouldn't mind. I think I'm doing pretty well at this focus business, if I may say so myself!