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"I have a friend who is the son of Egypt's Ambassador to Thailand, a chef from Peru, a Mexican chica that lit up my world, and a Finnish girl who has a higher rank in the army than any of the guys here.."
- Rasee Govindani

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Thailand

Everlasting friendships
by Rasee Govindani, 19, Bangkok, Thailand
Mar 5, 2000

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Rasee

I left my home of Bangkok for the small town of Pune on December 23, 1995, a week before my fifteenth birthday, eighteen months before my graduation from high school. It was an incredibly painful transition and I spent much of the first week crying myself to sleep, wanting desperately to go home. By going to India, I lost my best friend, my first love, my circle of friends, the teachers that I had come to love and depend on so much, and the only life I had ever known.

I learnt a lot in India, there's no denying that. Although it was not always pleasant to be there, I became a much better person. I have no regrets - not even losing the chance to walk down the aisle with my friends or not going to my first prom. I was eighteen when I came back to Bangkok and I was stronger than I had ever been.

As an international student at Bangkok University, in the past two years that I've been here, I've met people from all over the world. I have a friend who is the son of Egypt's Ambassador to Thailand, another one who is a 20-year-old Brit teaching children at a convent school, a Finnish guy who stands six inches under seven feet, a chef from Peru, a Mexican chica that lit up my world, a Finnish girl who has a higher rank in the army than any of the guys here.. I've been blessed with so many opportunities to meet these wonderful people from all over the world to learn things that I would have never learned otherwise.

But there's a sad bit to all of this.

In July, the most brilliant star in my sky, Paola, left for Mexico. I remember walking down to her apartment at five in the morning, the sky still dark, holding her tight when all her bags were loaded into the cab. I promised myself I wouldn't make it harder for her by crying. I stood watching the cab disappear down the road, then I went home and wept. I couldn't muster up a smile for the next week. I just felt so miserable and angry that I only had six months with her.

Two days ago, the last of my really close foreign friend left for Finland. Something in me just collapsed that day. I've been saying too many goodbyes to too many people in my life. It doesn't get easier and I hate it. It's as if I lose a part of myself when I lose them, and it takes a while before I can retrieve that bit again. Then there's the crying. I cry a lot, missing the little things like bitch fests at the mall and trying really terrible coffee at places we have never heard of before. With Paola, I missed her hand in mine. She always held my hand, wherever we were going, whatever we were doing. Johanna, my friend that just left, was one of the strongest, bravest, funniest people I have ever met and the void left with her departure has yet to heal.

Could I skip a prom when I had a date?

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