(Photo by Ashley)
On August 16th, I spent the day saying “goodbyes” to my friends and family. During our week of orientation in Chicago, I developed new relationships. Then on August 24th, I but again had to say, goodbye. Within the last seventeen days here in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, I’ve had the opportunity to grow relationships with other volunteers here in Malaysia. These relationships have become stronger and filled with love and laughter. This group has become my family; we lean on each other during times of frustration, the sense of being lost and the image of being different. On Sunday, September 11th, I had yet another goodbye to conquer, as we all depart to our next destinations here in Sabah.
I’ve learned that the value of close relationships with friends and family can be lost when we are surrounded by it everyday. I’ve learned that a simple word as “goodbye” doesn’t have a simple meaning. A “goodbye” can be done in many ways; “a simple wave or handshake, a hug, a tear, a funny story of ‘remember when we…’, or it can just be a walk in a different direction”. Mastering the “goodbye” is not easy.
This new journey isn’t just about getting to see the world and learn new traditions, but forming new relationships. If you think about it, creating and building relationships can be exciting, but not always easy. Relationships challenge us, they make us laugh, they make us cry and they teach us about ourselves. Throughout this journey my goal is to focus more on the relationships that I’m building, rather than trying to master the “goodbye”.