Γιαννης Παπαδοπουλος

Goodbye…

In Χωρίς κατηγορία on Ιουλίου 26, 2010 at 10:46 πμ

Every farewell feels like a small death -especially when you don’t know when, or if, there is going to be a reunion. You leave with a “goodbye.” And that goodbye hurts, even though you’ve known for a long time that this moment was approaching. It still hurts because it is violent, awkward and unfair. It hurts because when you say it you acknowledge that you seize to be a part of other people’s lives. They will move on, without you.

You understand what a strong bond you’ve created with a place when it becomes a part of you. Three years ago Boston was just a stop, a break, a lonely destination. Now, at the moment that I’m abandoning it, Boston feels like my home.

It has been an amazing trip. A valuable experience. A school. I wanted to go to a new place. Be a foreigner among foreigners. I wanted to cut the cord, leave my Greek culture, language and misery behind. It feels nice to show up at a new place without carrying your past in your luggage. Not because you have something to hide. But, because you know that whoever approaches you is going to meet your true self.

I used to be very immature. Before this trip I couldn’t make new friends easily. I thought of it as a treason to my best friends group, my Greek buddies from elementary school. But, in Boston I was able to grow up. I didn’t just build new friendships. I found a second family.

I had the chance to live in a city that respects its residents. I learned to run on its streets. My training stopped being a dull routine. I didn’t feel like a rat in a lab anymore. In Boston, the monotonous circles in a stadium gave place to asphalt journeys. And I became a little tougher: I wore my running shoes with snow, with rain and with suffocating heat. No excuses. A run is a run no matter what.

But living abroad wasn’t always a pleasant experience. A roommate of mine deceived me and stole money from me and the other tenants of my first apartment in Boston. An editor in an american newspaper denied to hire me for a co-up because, in his own words, I’m a foreigner and I don’t own a car. I battled with loneliness a lot. It was hard to adjust to a new life far from my country. And I am sad to admit that in America I’ve often encountered a hyperbolic, materialistic and puritan lifestyle.

Many of my stories for Greek media have portrayed the ugly faces of this country. I’ve written about the Ku Klux Klan, the fundamentalist Mormons and the survivalist communities. But, at the same time I had the chance to unearth the beauties of this place. I talked with a genius like John Nash. I followed the footsteps of famous writers like Truman Capote. I drank coffee with heroes like Abdulrahman Zeitoun and Jeffrey Wigand. I shared ideas with great thinkers such as Tony Judt. I met with Bernice King before her thanksgiving dinner. I spent moments with celebrities like Frank Serpico and Usain Bolt. And I was held by the hands of Frank Shorter before collapsing on Beacon Street during the 2008 Boston Marathon.

Now that my visa expired I have to go back. Somebody told me that there is not such a thing as “never” or “forever.” But for now the only word I can say is “maybe.” Maybe I’ll return sooner than later to continue my trip. After all Boston is the city that taught me how to love again.

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  1. Be well wherever your travels will take you. If it is Boston where your heart desires to be, you will undoubtedly return. Until then, I look forward to reading your stories.

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