– So, you will soon be leaving our offices, huh? Like, “Sayonara, suckers”? (Ha-ha!)
– (He-he!) Not quite, Sir. As I will return to all the suck … uhm, all of you, in six months.
– Naturally. Well, keep in touch, will you? Don’t be a stranger.
– Thank you, Sir. And I won’t.
Or can’t. With credit cards, cell phone and pc, I’ll keep on shining bright like a Christmas tree on all kinds of charts and maps. As easy to trace as a railroad track, and just a call away.
Back in the 1860’s and forth, the era of emigration to the US, almost 900 000 people left their plows and shovels in Norway to make their own fortune and happiness in America. Most of them just picked up a new set of plow and shovel and got right back at it, I guess. The point is that they really left home. And so they would sit down from time to time and write a letter to ma and pa back in the old country. Maybe from a scrawny little ranch on the prairie while locusts were eating up the scrawny little crop outside and the wife gave birth to the fourth scrawny little plowman.
And the letter would be sent by the pony express, train, boat and whatnot, until eventually, it would (or would not) reach the folks back home. Years and years later, the family from the Midwest would perhaps return to their roots and visit Norway. By then they would perhaps have made their fortune, and obtained fat accents, ditto kids and savings.
Today, you can rarely say goodbye, farewell or adieu and really mean it. Except in funerals. You rather say see ya, so long or ‘later, because when you leave somebody, quite a few of them tend to call you minutes after you’ve walked out the door.
Mushy song titles like “Never can say goodbye” or “Breaking up is hard to do” get a whole new and very real point, which you can nod knowingly to. It’s anything but simple to cast off the moorings and disappear like a ship in the night. If that’s your heart’s desire. Maybe it’s not.
After all, it’s really a blessing that traveling and all kinds of communication have become so simple. You can go to the farthest corners of the world and still be in touch with your loved ones. Yes, this is truly the case where you can have the cake and eat it, too.
This thought has just began to take shape in my mind, settling down nice and comforting, minutes before my mother’s on the line:
– Why don’t you bring a Skype setup and webcam with you when you’re abroad, hon? That way, we can talk face to face to no costs.
– Jeez, mom! Where do you pick up on this stuff? You’re not supposed to even know about these things!
– Our carpenter is from Lithuania, you know, and he has long conversations with his wife back home every night.
Mothers are good at throwing light at things and make them all crystal clear and obvious. And so I’ve made up my mind. No webcam. No tête-à-tête even with people I really care about. I have paid good money to get some distance, and that’s what I am having. A good old emigration – at least until I get really homesick … In other words: So long, then.
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