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19 January 2015

longdistance friendships

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One of the questions I get asked as an exchange student the most is if I miss my friends and family in my home country. In the beginning of my programme the answer was an instant and rather  strong no. Throughout the months the answer has changed its form every once in a while from ‘I think about them sometimes’ to ‘I do have weak days’.

I have never been the people missing type. I rarely — or nowadays more like occasionally — look back and when I do I don’t particularly miss anything. I remember the moments and cherish them. That was when I didn’t have to give anything up, for real.

As much as I’d love to consider myself as ‘a mentally strong person’ I can quite easily admit not being one. Then again I guess no one is when it comes to actually losing something. And then again, how can we know when we’ve actually lost something? At the moment I feel like I’ve lost a great bunch of great people as I left New Zealand which, by the way, is not even close to what really happened. I may have lost one or two friends but when it comes to the rest of them (who I like consider as the true friends) are still very much in contact with me. 

I miss my friends in New Zealand like crazy already and it’s only been three weeks since I left. I’ve been good in general since all the trips and activities here in Australia have been keeping my mind busy and away from overthinking. The other Sunday was our last day of our stay in Yamba and I was trying paddle boarding which is basically like surfing with a bigger board and a paddle. Since it is a solo sport and doesn’t enquire that much of concentrating I had a lot time to think about stuff. Sometimes having too much time to think is not that good thing, at least to me as I tend to overthink a lot. And as I was paddling in the beautiful river scenery I started to think about my friends over across the sea. I cried for a while, not much, but still. The thought of me not being able to see them for possibly years was, and still is, terrifying. As I returned to the shore my host mum pointed out that at least we have Skype nowadays and all the other communication channels. I very much agree with her but even then it is sad, even devastating to be apart from the people who matter a great deal to me. My host mum did also point out that I have my friends in Finland who I’m gonna see soon enough. I haven’t forgotten about them. Sometimes you just don’t appreciate the obvious.

The real friends stay even when you don’t meet in daily bases. It takes a lot energy to trust people and trust that they will stick with you. During my exchange programme I have come across the same thought many times: ‘Am I just an easy friend who people just kinda take advantage of and cut connection as soon as I go’. Out of sight, out of mind, out of heart. I have questioned friendships I’ve tied and then realised I want to rather trust and sometimes disappoint than question everything all the time.

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