“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” T. Meeha
My plane was to leave Hong Kong on Saturday, 6.40 pm. Since quite a bulk of people planned to leave campus at 1pm the same day, I decided to do the same. However, as expected, the farewells took so long that we eventually left half an hour later. A whole bunch of students had come to the stairs in front of the canteen, where a roof protected us from the pouring rain. Before, I had visited most of my teachers, too say goodbye and thank them for everything they had done for me in the last two years. Some of them were not home, but since I am by now befriended with most of them on Facebook, I know that we will stay in touch. I visited for example Nick, our Director of Studies, who had worked together with me on the Facebook page and with whom’s children I had developed a wonderful friendship, mostly expressed by our bike rides along the campus or long hours together in the LPC pool.
I also visited Sylla, my history teacher, with whom I stayed for half an hour, talking about languages and my future. He advised me never to learn Japanese by a native speaker, and to re-learn Russian, this time fully, so that I could indulge in Russian literature and poetry. We drank tea and he told me about his plans to “die in Germany”. Before I left, we hugged for a long time and while I had trouble to keep my mind clear, I explained to him that he had been “by far and of all, the very best teacher I ever had”, ceaselessly inspiring and motivating. The fact that his eyes got very wet revealed that this moment of separation, for now, was not only hard for me.
I tried to find more teachers, but many of them were not home. However, this was most unsettling when I realized that my tutor, Julie, had not yet come back from her morning hike. I wrote a note to her door, telling her that I would leave soon and that while I hoped to see her before 1, I wished her all the best and looked forward to seeing her, Marj and Willow soon again. Writing the few lines seemed to take ages, while I tried to write as neat as possible, despite my shaking hands and the tears blocking my sight. Eventually, I returned to my room. My roommates and friends helped me packing my suitcase, backpack and violin into huge plastic bags to protect them from the Black rain, and, encircled in a bulk of friends, I finally started my way to the gate – for the last time, at least in a while.
One warm and hearty “bear” hug followed the other. Many students cried as they said goodbye to each other, but I had always wanted to leave campus without a tear in my eye and a big smile on my face. In fact I must say that my laughter was more than genuine while I hugged all those people; I appreciated their love and glad to have graduated, excited to move on and more than ready for the summer break. Though it was indeed a moment of sadness and separation, I decided to look at the bright sides of it. I also remembered Sylla’s words about departures: A few years ago, students would faint in the parking lots upon departure, knowing that they would actually never see some of their dearest friends away. But today, in the century of Facebook, Skype, Emails and Co., I know that keeping in touch will not be hard, and that I will be able to keep my promises of seeing many of them again.
My roommates and I hugged several times, eventually stayed together in a long embrace, promising to write and Skype each other. Some of my best friends left the farewell gathering early, after we hugged and exchanged warm words and promises at the side, since they did not want to actually see me leave: “It’s too much to take”, one of them said. Eventually, just before I was about to leave, Julie drove by. She stopped the car and I ran towards her, hugging her for along time, incredibly glad that she had still made it to my departure. Finally, when I believed it was enough, I heaved my bag onto my back and called my roommates. They came with me, all the way through the gate and to the MTR station. Indeed, I left smiling, and hand in hand with my roommates. On the way to the MTR, walking through the rain, we sang “Seasons of Love” together; the song that had, within days, become a symbol for our First- and Secondyear Relationship. At the station, we parted.
While the escalator slowly took me up to the platform, I watched them beneath me, waving till they were out of sight, and while I waited for the train, I could see the A-Block outside of the station, peaking through the trees, as if it equally wanted to watch me, till I was lost to view.