Backing up to Goodbye

I was originally going to write a post about the idiot who decided to parallel park right in front of a cross-street, making all traffic on that tiny little street back up and take a new route home. I cross out the idiot because 1) it seems judgmental and 2) it’s just Kazakhstan. People here, particularly, people driving cars here do things that seem nuts. It’s not the India driving nuts where you can’t have rearview mirrors because another car will hit them off or on so island where you are flying around curves that drop off to the sea, but rather a more local nuts where no one will wait in line for the gas station and people park everywhere.

But then I got home.

I got home and I read Sara’s blog about if her life would be different if sedentary or if back in Chile (those who don’t read her blog, she left Chile for a vacation, had a medical complication in her life, and has now returned (maybe) permanently to the US). She talked about how it is hard to be patient. She talked about living with luxuries and not missing them. She talked about constantly having to re-say hello in a new place.

She linked to Eileen’s blog post about saying good bye. In her post, Eileen asked a few questions:

What if you knew when it was the last time you’d ever go somewhere, ever belong somewhere? Would you hold on to the moment, tying it around your wrist like a helium balloon? Or would you let it float away, knowing it would be replaced by more timely locations?

Both posts made me think. And each, in their own way, made me sad. I wanted to reply to Sara (and I did). What I wanted to say was this: for me, it’s not about saying goodbye to the place, it’s about saying goodbye to the part of me that inevitably remains there.

Chile isn’t my best example—even though I have a bit of a reader base there still (I think)—because Chile is part of me everywhere I go. It’s the one place, I always knew I would go back—no matter what. It was part of me before I married S. And will be part of me long after I have left this world. But the other places I have lived too. We had a party the other night for everyone from work. We got dressed up. We ate, drank, danced. They played one song that stuck with me—it was a song from Moldova (One I have blogged about). The music brought back so many memories and I thought about what I left behind. The friends, the job I loved, the food I didn’t. And I thought about the parts of me I left behind, part of my innocence and belief that the world was a good place, my flannel lined shirt, and part of my heart.

And I thought about today. About the car and my frustrations. About having to back up an entire block because there wasn’t enough room to turn around. These are the things that I will leave behind when I forget about how dangerous and annoying it could be; when life becomes a rosy memory; when I leave my life here. But I know, that when I move on, I leave a part of me too. And you can’t facebook friend your old self or your old life. You hold on to what you can. You forget what you must. And you lose a bit every time.



  1. Thank you Clare! I think that is a wonderful way of describing how I’m feeling, I never even thought of it like that, but you are right. I’m not really say goodbye to the place but who I was there and how I will be changing because I’m not there now.

  2. It’s true that you leave some of yourself behind, but you also gain more self in your next place too. So it’s a bitter sweet sort of sadness/joy to leave one place for another, isn’t it?

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