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Soundtrack: "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd

There are two main drawbacks to living in a hostel. The first is the complete lack of privacy whereever you are. You eventually get used to having little space to call your own and no time ever on your own, but it can become constantly wearing; a number of people spend an inordinate amount of time on their own locked into the toilet as a direct result of this. You might eventually adjust to everyone at the hostel remembering your drunken nights better than you do, but you never learn to like it. And you never get used to the fact that some of your most inappopriate moments are likely to have happened right in front of a closed circut television camera.

The second major drawback is that, as a result of the cramped quarters, relationships and friendships develop as quickly and inevitably as mold in a petri dish. A couple of weeks of close living, and you have relationships that feel like they were years old.

This is not the drawback. The drawback is, as it's only a hostel (even a long-term backpacker's hostel), one of these beloved new friends is always leaving or getting ready to leave. Every week or two is a new opportunity for tears.

Oddly enough, in my experience, it seems like every month and a half there's a mass diaspora; a bunch of people spontaenously leave at the same time, leaving only a handful left. Understandably, this is very hard on the survivors.

(Which brings me to an interesting non sequitur. Back in the book of Exodus--you know, in the Bible--when the Jews left Egypt as a herd, there must have been some Jews left behind. Just think about it. There have to have been. Some Jewish slaves sent out by their masters on errands, some Jews working far out in the fields, some in prison for minor or major crimes...just think about it. You're a Jewish slave, you return back to Egypt after being away for awhile, thinking that you're going to be reunited with your family, and everyone's gone. The government isn't any help, since the Pharoah and his troops are too busy wishing dearly they'd made swimming lessons a priority. And yet you never hear about these people. But I digress.)

I guess my point is...

Shit, I feel like someone should cue up the schmaltzy music, because what I'm about to explain is What I've Learned From This. So, here goes.

I guess my point is this: People leave. It's possible for people to love you and care for you and still leave you when it's time for them to go in another direction. And yes, you're completely entitlted to miss them, to get sad when 'their' song comes on, or when other people ignorantly take their bed or sits in their chair, or when you turn around to tell your friend something you remember they're in another country.

(music swells)

But never resent them. Hope your paths cross again, cherish their memory, and keep in touch the best you can.

Life is full of people leaving. Hopefully it's also full of people coming back.

(music fades)


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This page last updated on 31 January, 2002, and will most likely leave me soon as well.
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