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Letters on Tues(Thurs)days – Departures

Dear Wilton,

The shift in delivery from Tuesday to Thursday has been unintentional. With the holidays coming up, my schedule has been packed full, both inside and outside of work. In many ways holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, are about reunions and returns, however I wish to take up the topic of departures. It is the opposite side of the same coin; to return and reunite means that you are departing from somewhere, some place you currently are. Therefore, it is not necessarily an unrelated or opposing topic. Finally, I am sure it is a poignant topic for you, as our family returns to Taiwan after 20 years abroad.

It is always hard to imagine leaving a place for good, or even for a few years. You might not know it, but bonds are easily developed and can quickly thicken. Like roots, they hold you in place and they want to hold you in place. Yet, you will find as you approach and finally go into your twenties, departures become more frequent. The bonds you develop are overcome by circumstances. Though it goes without saying that life is filled with departures, it accelerates as you reach adulthood. With the way life is in the present era, I would even venture to say, leaving any place after two years can be counted as a significant departure – increasing the possibility of departures. Yet, so far in my description, it does not even include the people (and pets) who depart from your life.

With each subsequent departure, it becomes easier to deal with. If you were truly optimistic, perhaps you already see it as a new beginning, a new adventure every time. It took me a while to shift to this type of mindset. I must admit, I am still sentimental about the past but it is no longer melancholic; I no longer dwell in my memories as much. Just in the past five years, I have experienced four departures. That frequency certainly blunted the pain associated. The fact that I arrived at better places after each also helped my moving on, though it was not easy. Memories and bonds are not easy to break through and to let go of, but you can always look forward to creating new ones.

I could remember the pain and the distress in your voice when we talked about your own departure from Hong Kong. It is not easy. I remember my own departures when I was your age. Knowing this probably won’t bring comfort, but as our parents once said to me, don’t worry this is only temporary. Of course, the implication is that you will face similar situations again and again in the future. I don’t know about you, but I hated them for transferring me to Hong Kong International School. That is okay. You can be upset and you can be hurt. Let your feelings out and grieve for your loss, but don’t dwell in it. In the end, you must turn them into new adventures and opportunities for yourself. There will always be new departures to embrace.

One day, this journey will finally reach calmer waters, but then again, as with most things life, maybe not.

With Love,

Your Brother

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