To start with, the headline might be misleading because in my opinion, if a friendship or relationship is genuine and based on mutual trust and love, it does not have a “due date”. I have met a number of people who have friends or met their partner during a job or study abroad and they could work it out.
What I mean with the title is more the fact that in some occasions, sadly, the time spent together at one place has a due date. Sometimes you are in the country or city just for an internship, a semester or just traveling through and then you bump into people that touches you and connects to you in a way, that would love to keep in around forever. However, you can’t because after a time together, you have to return home and it becomes a long-distance friendship/partner. So that is the due date I was talking about in the headline.
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I thought about this the other day because one thing is to feel split about living abroad and missing your friends and family back home. Another thing is to make great friends while you are afar and then leave them again. I realized that in a couple of months, I have to leave the weekends, movie nights and UBEReats dinners, wine nights and karaoke parties with my newly won friends here behind to go back to Denmark to my hygge nights and walk along Islands Brygge. And only a couple month after, next summer, I will have to decide what to do after graduation. Do I stay in Copenhagen or move to France or start an internship in China or start working somewhere else?
No matter what I will decide, it seems like it will be one more time, where I leave behind my friends and our quality time to start over and meet people again, just to leave them. I don’t even know how to describe this circle. Friendship hook-up? A quick fun and go?
No matter if it’s my friends back in Germany, or in Copenhagen or Lyon, I miss them. I want to have them as a part of my happy days, and I long to have them around on bad and heartbreaking days. Instead all I can do is calling or skyping them, and that is already a great gift, considering the fact that my parents haven’t had this opportunity when they left Vietnam 30 years ago.
I wish I could show my friends my new life chapter in Asia and introduce them to the lovely people I met here and take them along on a night-market food spree in Taipei. I haven’t been living in the same country as my best friend Manja for the past 5 years and some days, I realize how much I miss her and other days, I call her up and forget about time zones because I have to tell her something funny that just happened.
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After highschool, when I was 19, I was traveling for 2 months along the East Coast of Australia with Giang, a girl I met at work in Sydney and with whom I had much in common but then again, we had our differences and bad days too. If I could tell my 19-year old one thing, it would be to enjoy the moments I shared with her more than I did and just drop the little fights and annoyance we had during that time.
Because ever since we said our farewells in Australia, I only met her again a couple of time. Every time I met her, we kept talking about all the adventures we had, but our friendship now is different and not as intense as it than during the trip. Simply because back then, we spent every day and night together and now we are having different lives at different places. We still talk on a weekly basis and tell each other whats new in life, but it’s another kind of relation now.
As I said before if a friendship is really genuine, it does not matter where in the world you are or how long you haven’t seen each other, the friendship continues. But nonetheless, it would be incredibly nice to show them your new place or a good restaurant you discovered in the new town and on the other hand, you would love to see what they are up to as well. They might come to visit for a week or two but the time spent together at the same place was already due.
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I don’t know about relationships “with a due date” because personally, I haven’t made that experience. But I have a friend I met during my internship last summer in Lyon who bumped into her boyfriend during her semester abroad years ago in France. Their time together seemed to be limited to that semester but eventually, they moved to Poland and then back to France together and now they live together in Strasbourg. One thing I respected a lot were the sacrifices they made to stay together but even more, I admired to see that they didn’t back out from all the obstacles in the way. For them it was difficult but not impossible and afterall, they both persued their education and their jobs and still managed to stay and live together.
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I can think of a number of other stories in my friend circle or acquaintances that changed jobs or/and moved away to be at the same place with someone they met abroad. I imagine it is because after all, if you found a person who is worth it and who can’t be replaced, moving and starting over in a new place is a small price considering all the joy and happiness you will have in the future life together.
I think all whats left to do is to enjoy the time you have together as much as possible and not regretting it by holding back. Either way, goodbyes always hurt and are heartbreaking but then again, life is so much more beautiful when you live it to the fullest and we all know that one couple or best friends, that worked things out, stayed together or moved to the same place, even though there was a due date. So I intend to enjoy my time here to the fullest – that’s my closing thought.
October 2018 // update: I left Taipei in January and worked through several student jobs and graduated in Copenhagen. I pulled through half a year and went to Taipei for the summer before I moved to Beijing to start my Master degree at a Danish University. As for now, I am jumping in between Beijing and Taipei, with the goal to move to Taipei in a few months and finish my education more or less remote while living and being with my friends that grew to be my family 🙂
Like I said back a year ago, things will work out and people will stay together or find back if they want to. Regardless of the due date or the distance, my friends and I stay in touch every day, video call each other and talk while we have a lunch break or study or go to the gym, send daily memes and update each other on mostly everything whats going on. It feels like we are not far apart and soon (hopefully) we are living in the same city again. For me, the friendships in Taipei grew with every memory we made together and every hurdle we help each other to overcome, no matter if we were together or in a different country. It became a friendship for life. And we all hope to find a relationship which is so effortless, so deeply, genuine and loved, as our friendship. I gave up dating and everything around relationships during all that time, for a year, and focused entirely on being with my friends and working hard in Copenhagen to finish up all necessary courses and jobs and then come back to Asia and be with the people and at a place that makes me feel genuinely happy 🙂
My article which was also shared on the Huffington Post : The dilemma of living abroad
and what else changed for me in Asia : Dating: feeling lost and feeling home – the Third Culture Kid
LET’S STAY IN TOUCH
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