I logged into Facebook this Halloween to check messages and wish my close friends a happy holiday. To discover that a very close friend I made in Australia, a member of the ‘foreign students clique’ I had been in my first year at student housing, had passed away unexpectedly. Matt had just turned 29 years old a couple of days before leaving us. He was healthy and very close to beginning a promising career in medicine. His family hasn’t revealed the cause of his passing.
He immigrated to Australia with his family when he was 12 years old from Poland and therefore had lived out his childhood during the Soviet era and didn’t speak a word of English until arriving in Australia. Matthew had a very gentle demeanor and quiet (but eccentric) sense of humour, he was genuinely kind and concerned…an ever disappearing trait in this world.
I keep thinking back to the last time I saw Matthew at my Goodbye party before graduation last year, how very happy I was that he could make it considering the crazy schedule around his studies. He brought a giant bottle of wine and a huge hug---nobody drank the wine.
I hope in his final moments he knew how much we adored and admired him.
I crave genuine, meaningful friendship. Though I am not overly ‘touchy-feely’ or emotional e.g. dropping tears at the slightest thing I do know what matters the most: investing in others and treating people the way you would like to be treated.
I just turned 28 years old on the 11th of October and though some readers might balk at this, this is a tough strange age to be at. We are in our youth but we aren’t terribly young and there’s so much pressure: build your career, build your 401k (let’s be real: even start one) have a house…maybe even get married. …And frankly unless you come from wealth or have a decent *stable* job those things aren’t attainable at the moment. Those things are *objects* and can be worked for/obtained later.
…But friendship/relationships of all kinds take work and people and animals *aren’t* objects. I rarely write about this but my heart has been breaking for around the last year as I have realized that a lot of my long time friends (think high school) have let their material possessions, social status either real or imagined get in the way of their friendships. It’s horrible that I can log onto Facebook read about someone’s expensive wedding/car but the expression of death or a birthday is ignored.
There is something profoundly wrong with our culture that cannot blamed on the economy, a political party ...
Maybe it’s just where I am at, but I feel like such an object to most people outside of my immediate family or closest friends. Though it’s getting better, I am still deeply angry and mourning what happened to me in Turkey. There are times when it really, truly strikes me that all the months I saved, worked, the two years of study that molded me into a quality teacher were thrown away in a matter of weeks because of the prejudice of a horrible manager who didn’t like the way I walk. I didn’t even get a chance to prove my worth in the classroom.
What’s wrong with people I don’t know, but what I do know is when you have a genuine-kind friend, teacher never take them for granted…show them what they are worth to you.