Thursday, October 19, 2006

Life-- a long series of goodbyes

God, isn't that depressing?

And as I am really seeing this year, true, this old aphorism of my mother's.

Aside from two close friends who died too young in the past year, a long-standing relationship that fnally came apart, loss of pets and stuff, sons disappearing into their separate adulthood, and leaving my country -- whew -- I keep saying goodbye to friends leaving Sarajevo.

That, say ex-pats more veteran than I, is a way of life when you take assignments abroad. Every six months or so, people you've gotten to know get other assignments or new grants in other places and they move on. Get used to it.

Well, there is one little custom that eases the pain. It seems that when people go, they leave behind clothes, appliances and especially spices because it's easier to make gifts of such things than to pack them. I now possess a state-of-the-art blender and an exercise stair-climber thanks to departures, also magazines, books on tapes, CDs, a new jacket, crushed pecans and a billion cat toys.

Besides the unexpected windfall of gifts, departures are made festive by the going-away parties, and the final diners, which can be very elaborate and drunken, depending on how many delicacies from the PX and bottles of alchohol the departing are trying to unload.

I am going to miss Eddie, Sally and Renee -- but I have a lot of reminders of them around my apartment.

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