But when you’re an expat, you do say goodbye. A lot. Sometimes your friends leave in bunches, and it feels as dispiriting as flood gates you just can’t close. Sometimes you reach a nice equilibrium where everyone you enjoy hanging with renews their contracts and leases and decides to stay.
But this is Hong Kong, and you know that won’t last.
Over the past two weeks I’ve caught up with some old friends, now living in Singapore, who were here for a visit. I’ve heard from another close friend who is transitioning back to life in Australia. And I’ve said goodbye to a dear friend and fellow writer who, after 20+ years in HK, has moved on. She and I haven’t known each other that long – not quite three years. We met in a writers’ group and we’ve written our first novels together, so it feels like we’ve spent a lifetime with each other, or at the very least a long, intense gestation period. Midwives to each others’ babies. I don’t think I could have finished my project without her.
She’s a huge music buff, and a fan of ’70s and ’80s pop. So I’m starting off my week with a few tears, a little disco dancing and two versions of the classic song, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’. I chose a heartbreak song because well, I couldn’t find any music about the bittersweet goodbye of the expat (Graham Greene never wrote lyrics).
You just don’t get used to it.