Too Many Goodbyes

Alta Millar, January 15, 2019

This morning, I said goodbye to the friends I made at Laban, to my housemates and to the memories I’ve collected over the months. I’m not heading back home quite yet though. I’ve decided to take a month to explore Europe and collect Plan research before I’m homeward bound in January.

If I’m being very honest, I can say that I didn’t want to leave London today. I didn’t want to hug my friends farewell or to pack up my things. Tears were shed and long hugs were exchanged. Even though this may appear sad and difficult, it’s actually a good sign, right? It means that I had such an amazing time to the point that I didn’t want to leave it. It means that I was able to make a meaningful little life here, one that is filled with people I love and a sense of belonging.

A couple of days ago, I got my closest friends together for a farewell celebration and I thought it was just going to be a couple of people who were going to show. I was mistaken, practically my whole Laban class came to my little flat and crammed themselves in my little room. We shared stories, laughed a ton, reminisced on the difficult times and the good days in the studio. We cried and talked about when we can all meet up again.

People gave me parting gifts, mostly little cards and chocolates. The best gift I received was a little model house that lights up from inside. My housemate, Barbara, gave it to me to remind me that I always have my home in London no matter where I go. This little house is much more than four thin walls with a little light in the middle, it’s represents the mobilization of my memories and stories from my time in London into whatever may come next.

I think the next step in learning how to study, live, and enjoy being abroad is figuring out how to carry it with me in the next thing I do. I’m heading to Europe to dance and gather Plan research, but it’s also a test to see how I feel moving on. How do I take everything I’ve just gained into my next adventure?

The last thing I’d like to reflect on while in the midst of transition is that I don’t want to disconnect my experiences from one another. Even when I return back to the states, I want to try my best to fully soak in what I’ve done here and continue this level of absorption at home. The practice of being fully present might be one of most difficult and persistent lessons I’m learning with my time abroad.

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(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)