Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking back

New years’ Eve is the perfect time to look back. One year ago, I was nervous because I would be going to Houston, Texas, for 6 months. I would be away from family and all my friends, away from Portugal and also away from the now friendly and familiar dutch surroundings. I cried when I left my house in old Siriusstraat. It would be a plunge in the darkness. It turned out to be nice, in the darkness. The sun was shining all the time, surprisingly enough, there were really cool people around and I made one or two true friends (treasures more precious than gold). When I left Houston, I cried too. Ironically, two years ago, I was dreading the day I would have to return to the Netherlands. I had been there for 4 months and still it didn’t feel like home. The Netherlands grow slowly on foreigners. But they eventually grow, and little did I know that I would cry one year later for fear of leaving my life in Groningen. Funny how life goes. Obviously, saying goodbye to my parents at the airport, I cried.

Am I a crybaby or is it all the time hard to leave things we are used to? Is it love that binds us to people and places or habit? How can we tell the difference?

By my experience, human beings can get used to pretty much anything. But there is a difference between real connections between people and just good old habit. I missed my habits, whenever I changed places. I missed going for coffee with my friends at the beach, when I left Portugal. I missed drinking beer with my friends, when I left Groningen. I missed going for tango every Wednesday and the party life, when I left Houston. But the people… First it hurts. It feels like you have no air to breathe. Their absence is so omnipresent, it is everywhere you look. They are not there. Their laughter is not there, their tears are not there, their advices are not there. New people start coming into your life and you create new habits with these people. But whereas the old habits drift away, people remain with you. Always, like a crowd of memories behind you, whispering softly in your ear. You are never alone, because of the love that binds you.

Sometimes I laugh by myself, because I remember past situations, or what someone would say if they saw what I was seeing. Other times I cry for painful moments long passed. And when I’m sad I can hear clearly what each person would tell me, because I knew them so well. Those are the moments when I realise that I left no one behind. I brought them all along for the ride.