Goodbyes are starting to hurt more and more.

I know I am leaving Shanghai soon, and that I’ve already said goodbye to so many wonderful friends and people who have already moved on, but tonight I had to give an especially hard goodbye.

When I moved to Shanghai, my life was completely different. I came here in 2011 on a two year mission to land a job in Moscow with my then wife, Natasha. She however, had other plans and left me in February. Nonetheless, I stayed here and in the summer of 2012, I met an amazing soul who would become one of closest friends I have ever had.

Vera and I met on a dating site, and discovered after we met that we lived in the same compound, in adjacent buildings, that literally looked into each other’s living rooms. Imagine that, the largest city in the world and I met a stranger online, who I had lived next to for a year, and did not know.

Vera had just recently lost her fiancé to cancer, and I lost my wife because, well because she was unfaithful. So while Vera and I played at dating for two weeks, we soon found we made much better friends. We were both still hurting in our own ways, but we found support and comfort in one another. Over the next 6 years, we helped each other through all nature of struggles and celebrations. I thank God for our friendship and our time together.

Eventually Vera and Tingting became friends, and life was good. Now, in roughly 28 hours, she will board a plane and fly to Sweden with her baby girl Kayleen, and husband Claes. I don’t know when I will see them again, but I hope it will be soon.

Yes, of course life closes and opens doors all the time, but I am so tired of saying goodbye to people I love. I know it is not really goodbye, we have Skype, WeChat, etc., but those will never replace the great comfort of dinner and laughter with friends and family in your living room, restaurant or God knows where.

Vera…. I wish you a safe flight, and I hope and pray that your new life in Sweden will be everything you wish you for. I miss you already, and I cannot wait to see you again, be it there, in America, or back in Shanghai.

Tingting and I have Leonard, you have Claes and Kayleen. We have come a long, long way together, and I am certain our shared adventures will resume one day soon.

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