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Travelling on our bicyles meant that we have to travel as light as possible. Tay’s mantra for our packing list was, “Every gram counts!” And so, we started packing. Packing up all the things we’ve ever owned, packing up different parts of our lives, packing up our yesteryears, packing up our planned tomorrows, packing belongings and attachments…and seeing them go.
So many people thought we were mad to sell and donate everthing off. We jokingly replied, “We’re burning our bridges so we cannot come back. So at any point in time we feel like giving up, we know we have no home to come back to.” But the truth is, when we saw our belongings go – one by one; we were overwhelmed by a huge sense of relief. It was like our lives had decluttered. And in place, we were presented a fresh page, a blank canvas to start our journey.
“I’ve always attached a memory, a relationship, a part of my life to a letter, a sweater, a thing of sorts. I’ve kept different boxes of ‘things’ for different parts of my life – a box of notes and goodies from secondary school best friends, a box of gifts from various ex-boyfriends, a box of letters I wrote but never gave to my parents. But having let go of all these boxes, these belongings; I realised those memories, those relationships, those lessons from those parts of my life are still with me. They are within me, in my heart. They have always been.” – Val
When the opportunity was presented to us to have a farewell dinner fundraiser, we took it up immediately. Not because we were hoping to raise great funds (tho’ we were hoping to raise some funds :)), but because this would give us an opportunity, a platform, to bid proper farewells to the people in our lives.
“I was so upset at first. Because everyone gave a ‘maybe’ to my SMS/email/Facebook invitation. I really want to say goodbye properly to them. Face to face. Why was it that no one wanted to come? But at the end of the day, I realised it didn’t matter who didn’t come. Because I said what I needed to say, what I wanted to say that night. I allowed myself to be heard. And it was my way of saying goodbye, saying thank you.” – Tay
“開始 – Beginning”
“For all of us there that night, it wasn’t a night of soppy goodbyes. It was a night filled with supportive presence, and I am ever so honoured to be part of those courageous first steps. And above all of that, I am most grateful to my parents for their presence. They were never at any of my performances, award ceremonies, or exhibitions. That night, we both took a step closer to each other. That night… was a night of hopeful beginnings.” – Val
Six months of preparation and finally it’s time to leave. The drive to the airport felt like forever as familiar straight roads, rows of tress and fast-paced cars and people zoomed past. What an irony – we had meant to keep the airport farewell private so that we could spend those last moments with our families. But Tay’s parents had literally ran back into the house after a brief goodbye at the door because they didn’t want her to see them tear, and Val’s mum was hospitalised the night before.
“Are we really doing this? What lies ahead of us? How are we going to do this?” With a myriad of questions and emotions, we stepped into the airport.
Goodbyes are difficult. But nothing is quite as difficult as missing out what lies ahead because we did not move on. Goodbyes are sad. But nothing is quite as sad as knowing what one’s dream is, and not living it. So we have said our goodbyes. We are moving ahead to face whatever lies ahead.
We are off to live our dreams.