Nevertheless, the closing of a chapter of one's life, however brief it was, is almost always accompanied by a sense of loss, however subtle. It is strange to think that this is really over; that I will never step foot in that weird pizza-shaped building again; and that I will never (probably never) see the people that I worked with again. I had the same feeling of strangeness during the LL.M., a few weeks before the exams, when I was sitting in Cafe 54 or whatever it is called (in the New Academic Building) with Aditi and Abdul, and out of the blue, I said, 'How weird it is to think that we'd probably never see most of our classmates and friends again after the LL.M. is over.'
Sometimes, it feels as if we are mere visitors in each other's lives. A door closes and locks out the connections and bonds that were made; people go back to wherever they came from or move on to another part of the world and then you realise the importance of physical interaction and face-to-face communication, because very few people really bother with email and Facebook. These connections are lost, the friendships put on hold or forgotten; these people that were your friends or good friends or close friends during a period of your life are relegated to mere memories, an anecdote, a 'I used to' or 'I once knew'. It is hard to sustain friendships when there is no possibility of meeting and talking in person over coffee or a drink or some food; and it is for this reason that I am, and will always be, extremely thankful for the friends that have stayed in my life through the years; the connections that have stood the test of time and the challenge of geographical separation. It is comforting to know that I will always have these friends no matter where I end up or what I do, no matter how long we spend without seeing each other. And it is because of them that I don't rue the loss of friendships formed on the basis of casual connections, whose basis was never really strong enough to begin with.
On another note, despite my complaints and getting bored of the office routine halfway through, I did enjoy my internship. The lawyers that I worked with have credentials that are simply mind-blowing: PhDs, years of experience working as prosecutors, years of experience as litigators in big law firms (big American law firms), degrees from Harvard/Oxford...one of my supervisors did her PhD under Antonio Cassese, a.k.a the God of International Law (RIP). I remember drafting a motion in response to something filed by Radovan Karadzic and being absolutely amazed by how much more concise the amended draft was compared to what I came up with - and I was already making a concerted effort to keep my sentences short (something which does not come naturally to me). It once again underscores just how small a pond Singapore is. It's easy to get carried away thinking you're the shit when you're at the top of a small community. It's only when you enter the Real World that you realise how much more ground you have to cover before you can justify your arrogance.
All in all, it was a good experience. And on that note, I am going to bed; have to finish packing in the morning before meeting Wouter for lunch and then the Mauritshuis. Should be fun.