The Art of Saying Goodbye

Article by: Jiwon Cyhn

Photograph taken from:

Every child’s dream, at one point, is to go to Neverland: the place of laughter, the place of fun, the place of boisterousness and the place where au revoirs are forbidden. This rule, however, did not apply to Wendy and her brothers. And in this world, we, as the students of an international school, are like Wendy. We, as global nomads, must say goodbye to our friends more often than most people do. We learn not to cry too much from a young age and assure ourselves that it is not our fault when a close one leaves. We tell ourselves that new friends will come, but deep inside we know that there would never be another person like him or her.

My first experience of a cherished friend leaving was the period of pink nail polish, High School Musical, and neon feathered boas- Grade 1. At first I was devastated. I clung onto her, begging her to remember our promise to become like Gabriela and Taylor in the unknown future of “high school”. After she left, watching and listening to High School Musical was painful and it became harder for me to talk to my peers.

But as time went by, I started to look toward to the future and began engaging in more activities. Since the spot for “best friend” just opened, I began mixing and mingling with different people and soon acquired a larger group of friends. Right before middle school started, I was the one to leave. It was literally just across the street to another school, but it was still not pleasant. On my last day, my friends and I were sobbing and walking to the parking lot like we were part of a funeral procession. But as painful as it was, moving actually turned out to be more favorable because I had a taste of another school and gained more experience. I learned that saying goodbye is not only painful but is also an important thing to experience in one’s life.

Bidding farewell to a friend will help us during tough times, especially when we must console someone grieving from death of a loved one. It will be easier to cope with the partings because we have said numerous goodbyes. Furthermore, knowing our friends may leave unpredictably allows us to value the friendship even more and to cherish each moment.

On the whole, friends leaving has its pros and cons. It is always a sad moment for both the person leaving and the person staying. Friends will come and go but they will always be with us in our memories. As Peter Pan advices to Wendy, “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”  Luckily, now that we live in a more globalized world, we can keep in contact easily through social media such as Facebook, even if that person is in the opposite side of the world.

The art of saying goodbye is doing so whilst considering the good and the bad, looking at the future.

We are apart physically but closer mentally.

This is an interview with Sean Rhee, Grade 9, who will be leaving at the end of his Freshman Year.

1. Why are you leaving?

Because of my dad’s job.

2. When did you find out?

Our family talked about leaving in November, but it was on December 1st when we made our final decision.

3. How do you feel about leaving?

Personally, I don’t want to leave because I just adjusted to the school and I’m really attached to it. However, I think that it is good for the future. Despite this, I still feel extremely sad.

4. What do you think is the hardest part of leaving?

I think that the hardest part is saying goodbye to my close friends and teachers in school. I also will regret missing all the school events like BOB.

5. If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?

I don’t want to be shy because everytime I go to a new school, I’m shy for about a year; I don’t talk to people. I regret not starting early and I regret not repaying my friends. Basically I feel like it is a waste because more than half of my time at ISM was me getting familiarized with my friends first. It took me a long time and now I have to do it all over again.

6. Will you be communicating with your ISM friends?

Of course! I will message them on Facebook and Skype.

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