Memoirs of an Exchange Widow

Random person x: “Man this spring definitely has gone by so quickly!” Me: “Lean over here, I want to pat your head with this pint, love!”

This spring didn’t go by fast. The tree buds didn’t just suddenly appear; they became visible centimeter by centimeter, day by day. The weeks didn’t fly by, they crawled, painfully and lumbering. Every day I checked that day from my Albert Mucha calendar with a marker, having started counting them after the spring break week. I know that in this article I should write about how during this spring alone, without my partner, I grew as a person, I realized new things about myself and so forth. But to be honest, it kind of sucked.

Don’t get me wrong; I love being alone. When I was an active girl-guide leader, the only way I got through the ten-day summer camps was to volunteer often to take over the kitchen duty alone, and one of the best qualities in my partner is the fact that he understands the value of being alone sometimes. Moving in together with him has never been an option for the “it feels like a nice idea and I want to be together 24/7”- reason – I love hanging out alone in my flat. But usually loneliness is completely voluntary, I can always decide that I’ve been alone enough and ride a bus to my bf’s lot. But naturally this spring I couldn’t, since my special person was literally on the other side of this globe.

Seeing friends sure helped and I’m more than grateful for everyone who helped me by hanging out and talking, but being away from that one person who understands you unconditionally and who appreciates your humor, even the very poorest jokes, well, it felt unfair. And it isn’t enough that it feels unfair, it feels abstract and strange, because at the same time you’re so happy for the other person and glad that he had the courage to go and enjoy his life. So yeah, it sucked. But, as always, there’s a but.

But never before this spring have I been so conscious of the passing time, of what do the days and weeks entail. Minutes, endless bittersweet minutes that you can use however you want to. I felt sad for the fact that I couldn’t spend them with une personne spéciale, but I was grateful anyway that I had them. I actually don’t think that I could get that feeling any other way than by missing somebody as much as I missed him. Plus I feel that sometimes when he’s around I tend to commit the same sin as many other people in relationships do; when meeting my friends, I want to go see him or plan to hook up with him afterwards thus not being present at that particular moment 100 percent. During the spring I could hang out with my friends the whole night, turn a dinner into a sleepover and that I’m planning to continue, even though my bf is safely back in Finland by now.

I refuse to think I learnt anything during this spring, because I find so many aspects of that cliché so dumb (for example I don’t think that you learn anything by travelling to India and meditate, you could do that very thing on your own couch if you just took the time, but you probably won’t) but I am willing to admit that I realized new things about time itself which I find valuable.

So, after all, maybe in the middle of all that suckiness there was also something good. But it still sucked. Balls.

(And for those who have all this still coming, a little tip from an expert: No matter how long the time away from each other feels like, you can count on one thing. It will end eventually.)

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