Goodbye Abu Dhabi

I've been putting off this post because it's just so hard to write, but I've decided I have to do it now even if it hurts.

As you may know, for the last four years NYU Abu Dhabi has been my home and life. It's given me more than I ever thought possible: best friends, mentors, adventures, skills, and the space to become the person I wanted to be. I took 64 flights between 23 countries and lived in five of them. I fell in love with people who's homes I had hardly heard of before joining, and learnt how to see world news through the lens of someone who lives there. My peers taught me that it was okay to express our struggles, and that we often won't get things right. I learnt that people actually respect me more when I tell them the hardest parts of myself, and that you can be whoever you want to be if you work hard at it each day.

And now, after a wonderful whirlwind week of celebrating with people from my English and UAE homes, I've left.

It may or may not be a permanent move. Luckily I have a 24 hour layover to say one last goodbye to the walls and windows that were home for all those years, and a job offer is still sitting tantalisingly close. But this was a goodbye to the life I've come to know and the many of the friends I made, ones who have now departed to almost every corner of the world. And right now I'm grieving. 

I'm grieving for a life that I loved deeply. I always knew it couldn't last forever and I won't even try to pretend it was perfect. There were times when it was so goddamn difficult that I thought about giving up. But regardless I loved it, and that life doesn't exist for me anymore.

Right now I'm sat in Sri Lanka with a wonderfully patient set of parents, trying to figure out my next steps. I've had support from brilliant friends who have walked this path before me and I have the coping skills I've picked up over the years that allow me to healthily express these emotions. But social media is a minefield right now with my feeds flooded with photos from graduation and each time I see that purple it's hitting me right in the feels. I'm not ready to share my photos yet, nor am I ready to see anyone else's. I want to be: staying away from social media is a somewhat foreign concept to me as I'm sure you all know, but right now it's just a tad too painful to bear.

Instead I thought I'd share these musings on leaving. I knew it was never going to be easy and I'm so grateful that's been so wonderful that it makes me sad. It would feel worse to be relieved to say goodbye. 

I know it's early days. It's been less than a week since I've left and people remind me that I need time. They're right, and I'm open to the process that I need to go through. Right now I just need to accept that I'm sad, and lie with it. 

Goodbye Abu Dhabi, and thank you for all you've given me.