When will I see you again?

As I’ve noted here before, I am moving on. Even though I don’t know exactly when I will leave Abu Dhabi, which has been home base and starting point for my many travels for the past five years, every day that passes means I will be here one day less. Almost certainly, I will be gone within four weeks.

A toast to friendship!

Even so, it was a surprise today when one of my colleagues, who will be on holidays in the week I will probably leave, said to me: “Do you think we will ever see each other again?”

Of course, the sentimental (and in this case truthful) answer is: “Yes, I certainly hope so.” But the reality may be quite different. I am going to Australia; he is staying in the United Arab Emirates and probably heading to South Africa when he has finished here.

The same applies for all my friends in the UAE, and my friends everywhere. We hope that this will not be the last goodbye, but can we honestly say that we will see each other again?

We may want it, and hope for it, but life holds no guarantees. In this past week I heard that a former colleague, not so much older than me, had died. I might have fancied that we’d get together again, but it wasn’t meant to be.

In the distant past, many people — my forebears included — left for foreign parts without any reasonable expectation that they would see or hear from their loved ones and closest friends ever again. How heartbreaking that must have been.

At least now we now have social media and live video apps that make us feel close even though we may be physically distant. It even reunites us with those we thought we’d never hear from again.

And, as always, we also have fond memories that will last a lifetime. And that is something for which we should be be truly grateful.

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