July 31, 2010
Saying goodbye is always strange. How can one little word express all the emotions that are churning inside of me right now. Instead of having one big bash blowout I have been slowly saying goodbye the last two weeks to everyone in my New York life who I will miss. Each goodbye has been hard and I have felt very sad, but I was unprepared for the wave of sadness for my comfortable safe life that I leave behind tonight. It was a perfect last night spent with one of my absolute best friends Kate and my sister, rhys, and of course rheana. It was low key, just hanging around their house eating Rhy’s amazing chicken meatballs. I kept it together as my friend Kate left, we’ve fallen into a pattern of seeing each other about once a week so it will be very strange to not see her regularly and know what’s up in her life. I’ve been away from friends before though, as I was for 4 months in Paris, but this will be different.
That realization of “this is different” hit me about an hour later as I said goodbye to my sister. I gave Rheana lots of big hugs and tried fruitlessly to get a nice photo of us together (my best attempt is above). How do you explain to a dog that I will miss her very much and even though she won’t see me for a long time I love her and promise to come home to her? I’ve been joking for months that I will have three big break downs about this trip: one saying goodbye to Liz/Rhys/Rheana, one saying goodbye to my parents, and one after I encounter a spider as big as Rheana. But joking didn’t prepare me for the overwhelming sadness that riddled my body when I had to say goodbye to the ones I love. I know I will be back in January and get to see them again, but there is a comfort that I feel being in Elizabeth and Rhys’ apartment that I will dearly miss. It is a feeling of home and family that I really only feel at my parents home and theirs. As much as I love my apartment and will be sad to leave the nest I have made for myself, leaving their apartment hit me hard. When I was a freshman at college and my parents left the first thing I did was call my sister and go over to her and Rhys’ place for dinner and it felt like home. Although they have moved a few times I have always immediately felt that feeling of family in their apartment. Will I still feel that sense of home in 5 months?
Leaving it tonight hit me like a tidal wave that sucks you under and then keeps pushing you down after each wave crashes above your head, but your under water so you don’t see them coming. The problem is (for me at least) once I let in the sadness a tiny bit all the worrisome thoughts rush in. I have always been a traveler, but never before to third world countries where I will experience such major juxtapositions to my own pretty cushy New York City life. I wonder who I will be when this trip is over because I know it will change me. Travel always changes me and usually for the better. It is exciting and terrifying to know that I am embarking on a 5-month journey that will probably chew me up and spit me out a different person than I am now.
As I walked out of my sister’s beautiful West Village apartment I hopped a cab and said for the last time for a very long time my cross streets. I was sobbing and the cab driver quite obviously thought I was a lunatic. He started to drive the familiar route back to my apartment, which I take usually 3 or 4 times a week and as I said goodbye in my head to all my favorite stores and restaurants from the window he took a wrong turn and got us stuck in 20 minutes of traffic. (The ride if done correctly at this time of night should be an 8 minute cab drive door to door). It’s amazing how anger is the perfect antidote to sadness. I quickly stopped crying and angrily directed the driver back to 7th Avenue. Then I got stuck in my elevator again for the second time today. Maybe it’s time to get out of New York after all?
But New York I will miss you. Watch over all those I love who live in you.
See you all on the other side!