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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Plague of Goodbyes

I hate goodbyes. In fact I really don’t believe in goodbyes.  I know it sounds corny but I sort of feel like you if you truly made a connection with someone, a part of them lives on with you and that, in a way, you aren’t very distant at all.  But that’s the airy fairy side of me.  The cold hard logical side of me tells me that goodbyes are essential and that when someone is gone, they are gone forever.  I can’t say which side wins the most; lately I’ve been slightly hard and cold about things.  Probably because I’ve had a guts full of goodbyes lately. 

 This week I had two people leave and these two were particularly hard to face.

I learned some very important things from the two people who left here.  The first is my friend Viola.  A brilliant, random, fun, slightly forgetful character came into my life early in my time here.  I remember that the lovely Viola slept a lot when she first came here, a hangover from her hard working life in Australia.  She likes her own time, even spent Christmas alone with a good book. 

I literally owe Viola my life.  Myself and her “lovah”, Franklin, were diving off of the shelf in Maravagi. My new diving gear, which I dubbed Dr. Bubbles, came undone and my tank was trailing precariously behind me while I was at a depth of 20 metres.  I made a quick dash up (but not too quickly) and as I surfaced the water, I felt a warm arm encircle me, saying it was going to be okay.  We made it to the shore and I sat, sort of in shock, while Viola got my gear together.  She talked to me in calm tones and got me back in the water, something I was very hesitant to do.  But she was right; just because I got a fright before doesn’t mean it would happen again.

Viola had done a good job and my tank didn’t slip again.  On the same dive, I swam with her, not able to see the bottom.  Her confidence gave me confidence in myself.   I don’t think I’ll ever forgot looking up at her, swimming like a wee mermaid alone, happy and content.  It made me feel secure knowing she was around. 

She is also my hero in a number of other ways as well.  Viola bravely went to Kolombangara with the intrepid Stan.  It’s a trip I balked at because I don’t have that much confidence in my physicality and Stan is like an unstoppable human being.  He bashes his way through bush and has is totally confident in his ability.  Apparently Viola was hanging and climbing up rock faces for a large part of the Kolombangara journey.  Now, if it was me, I might have harmed Stan.   But not Viola; she took it in stride and said it gave her confidence. 

In the new year, it was Viola who sat and burnt words of the past with me to welcome the new.  Viola also sat with me a lot during some very tough phases of my journey here, when I was less than a pleasant person to be around.  Being around her for me is very comforting; I feel like I can truly be who I am with her around.  I will miss her.

The second person was my neighbor Elsa.  Elsa is a flamboyant Italian woman with spark and vitality.  Elsa also taught me a great deal about happiness in the moment and to savour the small things of life.  She also introduced me to Eddy, my wantok from Hawaii, who has I believe become a lifelong friend.  Elsa talked a lot to me about moving on with life whilst keeping your passion and innocence and belief in love alive.  For that I am truly grateful.

However, there was one happy return: Tessa has made her way back across from Australia to enjoy the last six weeks.  I feel for Tessa; she is here to witness the mass exodus of her friends.  For me, that would be too hard to take and I’d rather be starting a life somewhere else, far away from all the goodbyes.  But not Tessa. I’ve watched her diligently help her friends pack of their lives and assist in throwing big farewells.   She does it like a champ and I can’t help but be impressed with her endless energy for parties and packing.

Another happy development: I finally met my twin.  I always wondered what it would be like to meet myself somewhere.  However, Sasha appeared one day at Maravagi and we’ve been friends ever since.  Sasha was born on the same day, same year as me.  We both work in the same very specific field. We both were out in the Samoa Tsunami, working there.  That even changed both our lives. We moved from our home countries in 2001.  We’ve got a disturbingly similar relationship pasts. 

I thought I would always hate myself but I actually I am very fond of Sasha.  She is bright and cheerful but 
also thoughtful and occasionally sad.  She is a spiritual person and does Reiki (I’ve signed up for a course myself when I return to Wellington!).  Anyway, after about the second time we met, I just told her to take over my life.  Which she did, with gusto!  She has taken over the room in my house in Casa Turchese and has filled completely the hole I will be leaving.  We’ve arranged a big roadtrip over the Christmas holidays 
with H.  Its going to be blast.

So there is much to look forward to.  But first is the finishing of work, the goodbyes and the packing.  All of which I’m not terribly excited about but with Tessa helping me, I’m sure I’ll be just fine. 

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