When I woke up this morning all my mind could grasp on to were a few random lines of Russian poetry I read in one of my classes during undergrad. I couldn’t place the poem until I turned to Google. The poem is, most appropriately, “Tristia” by…Osip Mandelstam. Mandelstam, who, you may remember, spent some time exiled in Voronezh. Tristia, one of his most famous works, begins with the line “Я изучил науку расставанья..”: I have studied the science of parting. The other line that was floating around this morning was from the second stanza – “Кто может знать при слове “расставанье”/какая нам разлука предстоит”: Who can know, at the word farewell, what kind of separation awaits us. This basically sums up my feelings about leaving. I’m anxious and unsettled, because I hate saying goodbye to people, especially when I don’t know when I’ll see them again. Even though I know that the dread of waiting to say goodbye is often worse than the reality of departure, it doesn’t make it easier.
That said, I’m pretty much ready. I just have a few more things to pack up and clean before I leave in a few hours. I have my “going away” playlist on my ipod, I have my train ticket, I have mostly everything that I need. And I’m ready, too, not just in the packed-and-ready-to-go sense. This has been a very interesting and challenging year, and I think I’m ready for something new. The whole process of leaving just seems surreal right now because after all this has been my life since September, and I can’t imagine exactly what the next phase will look like for me.
So, I am going to finish packing. And finish saying goodbye to Voronezh. Although I am sure that someday I’ll be back again.