Even though I booked 4 months in advance, and took my time saying goodbye; 2 months before I’d fly out I left my apartment to stay with my parents. 2 weeks before, I quit my job. I’ve been having farewell-drinks with dear friends and it seems the big leave is all I’ve been talking about this last month.
Still, of course, I managed to postpone the most important things to the very last day. Insurance, writing myself out as a Dutch inhabitant, the final packing and zipping up.
And all of these little things would make my departure more real, and sometimes might even give me butterflies; like that time when I’d just bought my rucksack and was waiting for the bus on the way back, me and my new home all alone by the side of the road, the way it’s going to be from now on.
But still it feels unreal.
Little over 36 hours ago I said goodbye to the very last guests of my intimate ‘last meal’. I’d invited my closest friends to dinner for a quiet last night at home.
The evening before that, I invited everyone I know to come and get a last free hug at my favourite bar.
And it’s so heartwarming how many amazing people I have in my life! It would almost make me not want to go.
But that’s the point that I’m trying to make here: that it still doesn’t feel like I’m going.
These last few evenings, last few days, with all the final arrangements and final goodbyes, I was still very relaxed about it all, just going around my business, just having good times with great people, kicking back. I felt no stress, no churning gut. It’s a big step, but it’s one that I’ve been living towards for so long now.
And now that I’m here it all feels so strangely familiar. And I’m almost …bored?
I was afraid this might happen. That after last time, and after idolising it for so long, I’d expect too much of it.
And where I’d expected to see a wild greenery, I now see smoke rising.
But besides all the demolision I see, I also see a lot of new, shiny buildings. And all the smiles and “Halo!”s I miss so much in the Dutch streets, are still here in abundance.
Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been up and traveling for over 30 hours. I snoozed a little, but even on that 12 1/2 hour flight not for more than one hour.
And again, just like last time, it still feels like all my dear friends are still so close, like I’m only around the corner from them.
And of course I’ll just need a while to adjust and get into it again.
So I wash up, get into some fresh clothes, and make my way over to my friend’s bar. Just before I put my hands over his eyes, he turns around. “Oh shit!” in his thick Australian accent, with that broad Bali smile.
Ting ting Padang bai, it’s good to be back!