11. Summertime Sadness

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With the rise in temperature usually comes waves of euphoria, released from year-long tensions built up over long cold winter months and miserable school days.

However, for an international student such as myself, summer does not hold the same happy sway.

In the last few weeks, I have had to say goodbye to a number of good friends. People are returning home. Some are looking forward to the sanctuary of family, old friends and familiar places. Others are grasping to hold on to what is left of this crazy year. Most awkwardly stand somewhere in between.

For many, London is not an easy place to bid farewell to. It’s teasing with countless hidden treasure islands, sparkling with cultures and foods of the world, and booming with endless excitement. But it is not just about the town, it is also hard to close this chapter of one’s life. Filled with difficult downs but also extraordinary highs, London is home to a year’s worth of experiences, wisdom and unforgettable people.

As heart-breaking as it is to let go, it’s equally as difficult to be left behind.

For the past few years, summer has always been bittersweet. Some more bitter than others. But I have always been the one leaving. I’ve never had to endure the feeling of abandonment.

Sure, sunshine and heat that goes on for days, no classes or exams, summer dresses and open-toe shoes are some of the most glorious things in life. The days are just starting to get good. But I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to rewind time. Go back to the darker, colder days of winter when everyone was still here, and could huddle together for warm and good company. I can still see the delicious evil grins on people’s faces as we laid down our choice of cards for Cards Against Humanity. I can still feel the increasing lightness in my steps as the party raged on. I can still taste the apple crumble of that flat-wide potluck. I can still smell the smoky air in the aftermath of the New Year fireworks. I can still hear the sound of raindrops on the tree leaves above us as we sat huddled after an excursion into our first London marketplace.

Year after year, I always say “where did the time go?!”. I hold on a litter tighter, blink a little less, and cherish a little more, but I have yet to learn how to make things last longer. How do you stretch intertwined lives? How do you prevent the unravelling?

Maybe the trick of it all is to not try and force it. Savour it when they are in your life, and let go when it’s time.

Our paths were inevitably going to separate. We are not meant to stay in one place. We are young. We are wild. “We are infinite”.

I just hope one day, we are destined enough to cross paths again.

Here’s to this crazy year. Here’s to us.

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