Vincent Cheung

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thoughts on friendship and life

After a wild night at Miyake's (sushi restaurant with loud music, cheap, but good sushi, and sake bombs (drop a shot of sake in a glass of beer and chug it while standing on your chair)) with mostly the same group as last week (minus Mark), Natalia and Adam crashed at my place. I even had Adam in my bedroom ;), but on the floor... (serving as our chaperone)

So, Adam prodded about our thoughts on life, friendships, etc. I tend to talk more with the aid of alcohol. Ordinarily, I am either too shy, can't decide on my opinion, or find the words to express my feelings. It got me thinking...

What am I doing with my life? Why do I feel that I'm not as happy as I could be? I am generally happy, laugh, and am thoroughly enjoying my time here, but I feel that something is missing. And it's been building up. I miss being in a relationship. I think more than anything, I miss the companionship. Why doesn't Google search find me the person that I'll spend the rest of my life with? What am I doing on a daily basis to move towards this?

On the topic of friendship, they found it strange that I maintain so many long distance friendships. They don't really maintain any. I maintain contact with friends I met over 18 years ago in Grade 2 (a few), those from Grade 7 (a few), Grade 10 (a bunch), undergrad (a couple), grad school (several), and internships (a few), despite our physical distance. Funny how right as we were talking about it (and looking up something on the Internet), Mimi (from Toronto and soon to be South Korea) and Chris (in Vancouver) were messaging me online and they saw a picture of Jen on my Facebook (in Switzerland working for the WHO for the summer). Probably the most effective way of keeping in touch with people has been mutual following of each others' blogs. I also heavily keep in contact with people through instant messaging (MSN messenger or GTalk, not this AIM shit that all Americans love). E-mail comes in a distant 3rd (pretty much only John b/c he doesn't go online much, well Florence as well but she reads this, but doesn't have her own blog and doesn't use IM much). Phone is pretty much not used for long distance friendships. These methods are used in between face-to-face contact.

Why do I do it? I think keeping friendships is important. I can't honestly say that a lot of them are extremely deep and I depend on them, but I like to at least keep updated on peoples' doings and then catch up more in depth when meeting in person. I guess that's the other thing, while these are long-distance friendships, I know that I will see most of them soon (eg. Winnipeg friends like twice a year, or people back in Toronto in just over a month, etc.). I do keep in touch with some people that I won't see regularly, but it is true that these are harder without the face-to-face contact except the occasional trip.

So where does this leave us after the summer? It's a strange situation. All us interns come from all over the place and after our passionate summer fling where we see each other like every day, we just go back to where we came from. This will never happen again where we will all be in the same place at the same time. It's very sad to think about since I have made some really good friends here. I will be keeping in contact with the friends I have made and do plan on visiting some of them at one point or another and hopefully have some of them visit me. I think about it and if I come back here like in December, or in a year, or in 5 years, I will know very few people here. Only the few full-times that I am friends with are likely to be here along with the "locals" and those interns who decide to come back for full-time, but it will never be the same. On the other hand, I will soon have good friends littered all over the world. I guess it's similar to say, high school, but it's vastly accelerated and pretty much everyone is leaving town after, unlike high school, where many stay (as was the case with myself along with many of my friends).

I guess you just have to make the most of the time that you have. Enjoy every moment. Acknowledge that it's fleeting, but don't let it get you down, which is hard because the notion of permanence is very comforting to me.

2 Comments:

Jill, (aka Herself) said...

Had I not kept in touch with you Vince I would have missed out on not only treasured experiences but also what turned out to be a surprising yet wonderful friendship with you. For those of you who can't see how you can maintain a friendship strictly on email/messaging and a few visits a year I can tell you you are probably missing out on something. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.

Vince said...

Thanks Jill! Yes, you are one of my greatest success stories of long-distance friendships.

If nothing else, you got free housing during your vacations ;)

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