It will soon be two years since someone close to me decided to stay in the United States or as we like to call it here “the promised land”
As if it was yesterday when we talked about him leaving. At first I thought he was joking, that he will get over the idea of staying overseas, but it was not like that in the end. Even then he told me that he might stay and not come back. At first I did not believe him. Soon after finding a job, getting his visa approved, he packed his bags and left.
At the airport when we were saying our goodbyes and when I was not sure whether our hug would be the last one, I promised him that I would come see him next year (in case he stays). Everyone who has ever had to say goodbye to someone close to them knows the feeling of hugging them and wanting to remember that moment as long as you can, the warmth, the grip, a smile. People who stay and wait have the hardest time, time passes by really slow, and missing someone becomes a thing of everyday life. After a few months, he decided to stay, everyone supported his decision, both family and friends. It was very important for him, and I believe for everyone else,who wants to chase their dream. Far from it being easy, but we swallow our pride because our support means a lot in these moments.
While my friend was working towards a better tomorrow, people who stay continue leading ordinary lives. We finish colleges, we go out, hang out, so the days and months pass. My friend is someone who was the skeleton of our friends group and ever since he left and stayed overseas, we grew apart. As a group of friends we chose different paths that separated us.
One part of the group was planning to go to “the promised land”. I stuck to my promise. I applied for the program and looked forward to every step that separeted me from seeing and hugging him again. My friend that stayed overseas helped me a lot in order for me to join him. He talked a lot about it being an amazing experience, a huge test in life and that everything was going to be fine. Besides talking and advice he was someone who helped me financially since, as we all know, this program is not cheap, at all. Sometimes I think how if it hadn’t been for him it would probably never cross my mind to go and I would probably never go. Somehow his decision made us all leave our comfort zone, leave the dull everyday life and simple goals. I was looking forward to leaving, especially because I was excited to finally see my friend after all the time that passed.
I am not a person who was brave enough to stay, but I am a person who is grateful for having had a chance to gain the best experience in my life. There were tough moments, but more of the happy ones. People I met, the fact that I saw my best friend, the experience I gained in life cannot measure with anything. But I came back, I continued working on myself and my life in my country. My best friend stayed to build a better future away from his family, friend and native country.
I often hear people say how it is easy for him, that he does not care, but they do not know that the time does not stand still neither here nor there. Weddings, christening, celebrations are coming up and he won’t be here. He will come back one day, I know, and make it all up, and he will be proud of himself just as his closest family and friends were proud of him the day he left.
I tried to remember the hug when I was leaving “the promised land”, warmth, a grip, because I did not know when and where I will meet my best friend again.
Written by: Aleksandra Delić
This post is also available in: RS