It is time for the first farewell-party and all of the surprise guests push towards the blind corner of the room in order to surprise the unsuspecting person soon to be leaving. The echoes of the joyful screams bear melancholy and we have all now reach the point we thought would still take a long while to reach. The first one of us is leaving. The moment has struck. The smiles and laughter are colored with glimpses of sadness on people’s faces. Some try to joke about it, others totally avoid mentioning the reason for this party. We carry on having fun and everyone tries to enjoy the last moments together.
Whenever we meet inevitable moments and losses in our lives we have our personal methods of trying to cope. Some try to face their feelings through humor, others do not say a thing, some completely push feelings out of their way. There are just as many ways of handling these things as there are people on this earth and we all just try to get by. One thing is for sure and that is that we all appreciate the things we lose in a completely new way.
After the party I return to the apartment and during the dark hours of the night I sit by my narrow bed, thinking about my time here. First it feels like I would have spent an eternity here and my mind is filled with memories. Then feels as if I had just arrived here and everything is completely new. My mind wanders back home and tries to hang in here tooth and nail at the same time. It is almost ironic how I have known from the start that I’m here only for a while but I have not been able to fully realize it. Now, as there are less days to spend here and those remaining grow cold and short, acknowledging the departure feels heavy. It feels like I would not have had enough time to experience all the things I wanted.
Instead of falling to despair in this situation one ought to be brave. Despite the fact that there might not be enough time for everything and that inevitable situations cannot be avoided since they are in fact, inevitable, it would be beneficial to look at things from a more positive perspective. The world does not end just when my exchange studies here end and life goes on offering many other new and just as great experiences. Even during my short stay here, I had the chance to experience wonderful things. Remembering those things will bring joy far in the future too.
These four months here in Uppsala have taught me to have a new look at the world. My appreciation towards regular everyday life has grown. I can now also understand those who might have difficulties leading such a life, better. I have realized what sort of things I appreciate the most and how I wish to change my life as I go back home. In a way one could say that the greatest and most useful lessons from this exchange have not come from the corridors of the university, but from the encounters, culture, people and challenges we have met during the exchange, instead.
Now that I am soon leaving – as we all soon head back home, I believe that something has changed within our minds. It is not just about having experienced new things or about having met new people, but it is more about the fact that we have all grown in different ways. Who knows if this growth is permanent? I wish it were since I believe that at least for me the growth has been towards the better.
I go back home to celebrate the Independence Day. At home, with my family I realize that I now miss my other family back in Sweden. I miss the family that grew around me in such a short time. Now I understand what the Kuntotie spirit in Rovaniemi is all about. It is about having found a diverse group of people that are important to you, brought together on the same adventure by life. Even though the moment of farewell draws nearer I smile since I know I will meet these people again sometime and that we will stay in touch. While waiting for that to happen I try to savor every possible moment we still spend together.
As the Finnish song says:
I wish the clock would stand still,
The ticking would quiet down,
I have to go far,
The last hour goes by
P.S. I will never admit listening to Kirka.