Our good friend Hoi left yesterday morning with her daughter Yukiko for Key West, Florida. She and Joe, her husband, are moving there because Joe got a job in the area. Hoi went on ahead with the baby to get settled in their new house. Joe will be leaving mid-May. They are the first of our friends to be saying “goodbye” to our lovely village.
Mark, our full-timer succumbed to his homesickness and moved back to North Carolina.
Billy and Alpha are moving to New Mexico.
Julie is moving to Wyoming.
Jacen and Stephanie are moving to Texas.
It seems like our circle of friends is breaking apart, at least here. Being somewhat of a gypsy myself, I can understand their wanderlust. Howard and I have moved a lot in our 13 and a half years of marriage. In fact, most of our friends are like we are. Never quite settled, they start to feel restless if they’re not packing up to see what new destination life will bring them to. Most people that aren’t native to rural Alaska that live here, are usually nomads like us. Always seeking that next adventure just around the corner. It’s cool. I love having friends spread all over the world.
But it never gets easier saying goodbye. Nomads like us learn to appreciate the time we have together. We tend to spend a lot of our free time bonding, “hanging out”, sharing stories of our travels, etc. Those bonds usually happen quickly and fiercely. Naturally the more friends we make in that capacity means more “goodbyes.” And let’s face it:
“Goodbyes” always suck.
Tuesday night, we gathered at a friend’s house bringing appetizers, beer, and brownie with ice cream. We laughed and ate, Hoi and I passed the baby back and forth, and of course we shared more stories. We all hugged and kissed both of them numerous times before promising to see them off at the airport.
Yesterday morning we took pictures, we laughed, we all were stoic because who wants to cry when Hoi’s going to lying on a beach in Key West in a few weeks? (she’s driving there with her best friend from Anchorage) Amazingly, we didn’t cry. No one did. Except when Hoi was boarding the plane. Joe said he could tell by the expression on her face that it finally hit her that she would probably never see our tiny village again.
We already miss her and will no doubt give Joe the same kind of send-off, but having friends in Key West means we’ll never have to rent a hotel room when we visit as long as they’re living there. That’s definitely a huge perk to having friends all over the world. You’ve always got a place to hang your hat.
As hard as the goodbyes are, the chances that you’re gonna have a friend right around any corner of the world are pretty good, and if it means I have to say a lot more goodbyes, then I’ll take that any day.