In my experiences abroad, the hardest part has always been saying goodbye to new friends, my new city and my new life. Sometimes this is of my own volition, other times it is because a program ends. Usually, this separation happens just as I have begun to feel at home.
Leaving Hamburg was no different. As I said goodbye to my roommates, colleagues and friends, I felt that I was leaving too soon. I regretted every second that I wouldn’t see everyone for a while and did everything possible to avoid thinking about my impending departure. I still couldn’t believe I was actually moving away even as I passed through airport security.
It is a common misconception that nomads are so adjusted to moving that they easily let go. However, easily adapting to a new environment isn’t the same as forgetting where you have been before. No matter how many times one says goodbye, it is always difficult. Whenever you invest time into building relationships with others, it hurts to leave them behind or to watch them move on.
It is more challenging to maintain friendships once you have gone. When you don’t share the same daily existence or shared experiences, it can be difficult to continue enjoying the same rapport with your friends. Facebook, Skype and cheap travel help to bridge the physical distance, but it requires real effort to keep any friendship alive.
Regardless where I go next, I will think fondly of my friends from Hamburg and elsewhere. As my plane took off, I realized that I belong to Hamburg and it belongs to me. The experiences that I have lived in this city will always be a part of me, as cheesy as that sounds. I have changed since I moved to Germany and I will never be the same. Perhaps a successful stay abroad? Maybe. In any case, auf Wiedersehen, Hamburg.