Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tired of Goodbye

If there are two things I don't like about this lifestyle, they are being far from friends and family, and constantly saying goodbye. I just spent two and a half weeks in Juba, capital of southern Sudan, where I unexpectedly had a truly amazing time. Wayne and his group of friends were just such a welcome change from the isolation of Khartoum, and being there felt like being back at camp where you hang out with the same people everyday and get to know each other very quickly. When I flew back to Khartoum today, I felt like I had just popped out of an alternate reality - one full of Filipino Kareoke parties, campfire under the stars, dancing to loud music and a close-knit group of great people.

But of course, it all comes to an end so quickly. And the goodbyes become exhausting. When I look back on all the great and interesting people I have met - and never seen again - in the last four years, it makes me sad. I know it shouldn't. Yes, yes. You learn something from everyone you meet. They play their role in your life and then move on. And it's a small world - you never know where you might re-encounter an old friend. But sometimes I just feel that I am never moving forward. I invest in these friendships and then lose them. So instead of having a foundation with someone and building on it, you are constantly cracking the foundation and starting over. It's all short-lived and temporary and that is so unsatisfactory sometimes.

That being said, I have great memories (and plenty of pictures) to looks back on. Above is Charita, a Filipino police officer who is part of the UN Mission in Sudan, and I climbing a mountain just outside of Juba town. To the left is Wayne, the RCMP officer who I have come to know more than I ever anticipated, and I singing kareoke - can't you see the sadness in my eyes!

On another note, this experience has been eye-opening on another level. I have plenty to say about the UN and its employees after this "embedded" experience at the UN compound in southern Sudan. I can't reveal such information here to "protect the innocent", as Wayne and Mark put it, but ask me about it later and I'll give you my two cents!

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