Separation

Eugene Henninger-Voss - Brazil


August 21, 2016

I’ve already left home.  I came out to visit my family out in Vacaville, California on August 9 and I won’t return home until April 17th.  My past fades away and my future hurtles closer and closer to me in this sunny time. This week has been a strange limbo between leaving and arriving.  I have left all my friends, my house, my dog, my dad, and I won’t see any of them until April 17th.  But I am not quite yet estranged as I vacation with my mother, sister, aunt, Grami, and cousins.  Pre-Departure Training starts at the Alliance Redwoods Conference Center in Occidental, California, about 2,500 miles away from where I live.  I’ve already covered 2,450 of those miles but was frozen a mere 50 miles from my destination. This strange time-out-of-time between ending my old life and starting a new one has allowed me several opportunities.

             First it has done a wonderful job of separating the generally synchronous feeling that come with leaving and arriving, with ending one stage and beginning another.  When something that I love terminates I feel sad, and a sense of loss. Leaving reminds me of all the things I never did; the roads I never drove, the restaurants I never visited, the friends I never called up.  I feel sorrow and remorse and loss.  I am leaving so many people, places and things.  For eight months I will never see my friends or family, and this knowledge wields a heavy pang of loss. However, as always these symptoms of being homesick fade with time.  I am by no means so fool hearty to think that I am cured of homesickness. I know that I still suffer from its symptoms, slight though they are, and am prone to relapses, but for now in this limbo time I am mostly over it.  Which leaves the feelings instilled by the upcoming adventure.  My feelings looking forward boil down to a contest between anxiousness and excitement.  I am happy to announce that excitement eclipsed anxiousness around noon on Tuesday and has been gaining ground ever since.  I have been told time and time again by that I am about to meet awesome people who will become awesome friends and then we will go and do awesome things, which all in all sounds kind of awesome.  Right now I am thoroughly enjoying the pure excitement of an upcoming adventure without anything to sully the feeling.

 I noticed something interesting while I was ruminating on the different emotions evoke by this whole process.  When I am feeling the pull of home and missing my ‘old life’ I look to the future and think “I will be gone for EIGHT MONTHS! I won’t be back until April 17th,” but when I am excited and giddy I look to the future and think “I am leaving TOMORROW! I will be meeting new people in 48 HOURS!”  If I think of my bridge year as an eight-month gap in my life it is almost unbearable.  Thinking of it as a really fun, formative eight-month gap in my life is not much better.  I tried to think of it as a new life, but unfortunately that implies I am leaving an old life and is again not helpful.   I have to think of it as a really fun thing I am going to do, just as coming back home for the summer will be a really fun thing to do and going off to Tufts will be a really fun thing to do.  All I needed was a little bit of existential realization that whether I am in Brazil or at Tufts, with new friends or with old, I will still be loved and have a good time.  With that in mind the thing to do is focus on the good times I will have and not those I will miss out on. Got to think positive to stay positive.

 

It’s the End of the World – REM: Because my high school life, my life as I know it, is ending.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0GFRcFm-aY

 

For the First Time in for Every – Frozen: I am setting out on a great adventure.  It’s the first time I’ve never done something like this, the first time I have been away from home for so long.  For the most part I am really excited but there is still this little kernel of apprehension (thank you Elsa), but mostly I’m feeling Anna.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOReid0vEwY

 

Eugene Henninger-Voss