When you know a lot of foreigners or are a foreigner yourself, saying good-bye becomes part of your everyday existence. You, or they, might be passing through, but they touched your life, they shared their culture, and became part of something you still cling to after their departure.
I first experienced the good-bye syndrome when I myself had to leave my adoptive countries, twice thus far in my life. In one sense, it feels like a relief to leave an existence that, in some way or another, is difficult simply because you are foreign, be it the language or the culture or the fact that nine times out of ten you’ll miss the punch line of a joke because you don’t get the reference. Culturally speaking, you’ll always be somewhat dépaysé while living abroad. But it is the people you meet that really tug at you, especially when knowing that your stay abroad was supposed to be temporary and that you won’t be able to maintain such constant and consistent contact with your new friends and family once you go home. This happened to me two times already.
Except that the last time I didn’t want to say good-bye to certain individuals, to the point that I became obsessed with the idea of returning to France, to my friends and my new home.
It becomes trickier when you befriend foreign students, knowing all too well that they have a train ticket that will take them away at the end of a few months’ stay, that your wonderful new group of friends is only temporary.
Saying good-bye is never easy.