As another year ends, students at Pakistan Embassy College Beijing (PECB) bid farewell to many of their friends who are going back to their home country. As the majority of the students are children of diplomats, most of them only stay one country for not more than two to three years. Leaving their friends and schools behind so many times can prove to be a bit frustrating. But for people like me, who have been studying in the same school for many years, watching all your friends leave after every three years feels even worse.
Making friends is not as easy as it seems. It doesn’t just involve walking up to a person, introducing yourself and you are officially friends. “Friends” means trusting, understanding, sharing and accepting someone. And after all you have gone through to make a friend, you sure feel frustrated if you have to start over again when your friends leave. Of course, most of us try to remain in contact with our best friends through Skype or Facebook, but it’s not the same. Once your friend leaves, you no longer share the same topics to communicate. You don’t know what’s going on in her new school, you no longer share the same friends and after sometime, you don’t even know what to talk about. Plus, there’s always the time difference which makes chatting with your friends even harder.
Hanan Kovacevic, my best friend from Bosnia who is leaving this month says, “Watching your friends leave is probably one of the most difficult things you have to face in your life. They leave to a new place where there is nothing that reminds them of you while you stay at the same place and have to pass everyday nearby your hangout place or sit in the same classroom and not have your mate next to you. If I could choose between the person leaving or the person staying behind, I would definitely choose to be the person leaving.”
There are people who like adventures. Aswad Khan is a Pakistani who was born in Germany, grew up in South Africa and recently moved to Beijing due to his father’s job as a diplomat. He says, “My best experiences were in South Africa as I grew up over there. South Africa is a very beautiful and an amazing country and I had lots of fun in Pretoria, which was where my family lived. One thing I’ll never forget was my trip to uShaka Marine, a marine theme park in Durban, South Africa. I saw the African native dance performance, the dolphin show, crabs and lobsters show, but those were nothing compared to the water slides in the theme park. The largest slide was almost 50m above the ground with a lot of swirls and a huge dive into a pool below.”
When asked, Aswad says, “I like the idea of going to new places and experiencing something new. Of course, it is never easy leaving your friends and family behind but I am so curious about what fate has in store for me that most of the time, I am just too excited to worry about the problems I will be facing. Instead of worrying, I start to imagine how life in another new place would be like and how my new friends will look like.”
We gave Hanan a farewell party a week before. It was nothing grand, just Annie’s pizza and a few bottles of coke. But talking about old times together with your friends feels as if they are just another part of your big family. Thinking back, I remember playing baseball with my friends. We used a broomstick as the bat and an eraser as the ball. The snowball and water fights with my class and perhaps the best trip of all: when we went paintballing and my team mate accidentally shot me on my face because she thought she saw the “enemy”.
Maybe my friends will leave after a few years. Maybe they will live so far away that I might never have the chance to see them. But I am sure that the memories and the time we all had in PECB will always stay with us no matter where we are.
Jun Wei Loh, 15, is the beijingkids student correspondent for the Pakistan Embassy College of Beijing. She is from Malaysia and is currently doing her O Levels at PECB. Although her favorite subjects are math and physics, she enjoys writing articles and is part of the newsletter editing team in her school. She is also attempting to write a novel and hopes to publish it one day. Her hobbies change from day to day depending on what mood she is in. The three things she wanted to try out one day are: parachuting, bungee jumping and piloting a plane.
The beijingkids student correspondent program gives high school students with an interest in writing and journalism a resource for guidance, feedback, and real-life training.If you are a student interested in becoming a beijingkids student correspondent, or you know a student who is, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of Junwei Loh