Monday 16 July 2018

Redefining the Meaning of Farewell

View of Bario town from Bukit Korea

I have always had this question or thought dwelling in my head throughout my life: What’s the point of making
new connections or establishing new friendships in the first place if farewells are inevitable?
I have always tried to keep in touch with people whom I have crossed path with—people who have impacted
me deeply and whose spot can never be filled by another person. Every time the moment comes to bid
goodbye to a family member or a group of friends that I grew close to, my heart aches silently. We can argue
that now, with technology, we can always keep in touch easily, but things are never going to be the same once
separated by distance and priorities changes. Even by keeping in touch, the feeling of emptiness and longing
will always be there.

During my stay in Bario, I somehow managed to put together the pieces to answer this question that I’ve
always had in my mind. Farewell is indeed inevitable in every relationship, but it is just momentary sadness.
Crying silently when someone leaves doesn't mean you don't want that person in your life, because you know
that person is going to continue in a direction different from yours. Separation from each others lives is not
going to stop me from embracing the moment and relationship and being thankful and grateful that we crossed
paths. What matters most is the moment spent together and the presence of loved ones that should be
embraced wholeheartedly.

My batchmates on our way back from Kampung Arur Dalan

When my flight took off from Bario, many tears were shed, and I believe it is because of the bond formed
through love over the 10 days. There was a feeling of sadness while leaving the place, but it was overcome
by the greater joy of getting to know these amazing, genuine, and loving people that I met through this journey.
My heart was filled with gratitude from memories created, lessons learnt, and the connections I had formed
throughout the 10 days.

Bario has reframed my perspectives on gratitude and contentment. The simple act of giving thanks before our
food reminded me to always be grateful and contented and also to be appreciative of what we have - food,
health, family and friends, and most importantly, our lives.

It made me realize that the key to happiness isn’t about chasing material wealth; it is in having great
relationships with people you care about through spending quality time together, which is something difficult to
attain in a busy world, especially in the corporate world.

Words can hardly express how I feel exactly; the rest are to be experienced personally. I am so glad that I went
as a volunteer instead of as a tourist as I have gained so much more than I had expected. Bario has left a mark
on me and will always have a special place in my heart.

Aw Mei Yin

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