Goodbye in Paris

In a world full of cultural diversity, it is remarkable how the farewell is understandable in any context

Photo: Joe de Sousa | unsplash

Farewell, often associated with goodbyes, transcends this connotation and is assumed to be a universal greeting. It is a gesture that overcomes cultural and linguistic barriers, connecting people from different parts of the world through a wave or interaction. This modest gesture carries with it meanings, many of which go beyond a simple goodbye.

I was in Paris and, while sailing on the River Seine in a bateau mouche, tasting a couscous with a mint flavor and spring colors, lulled by the soft voice of Édith Piaf, I felt the magic of the carefree gesture of goodbye, and of receiving in return, the friendly goodbye of the strangers who were strolling along the firm banks. The innocent, almost childish happiness of those moments brought together these words that you are now reading.

In a world full of cultural diversity, it is remarkable how understandable goodbye is in any context. Regardless of the language spoken, the clothing or the traditions, the gesture of waving “goodbye” is recognized. This fact highlights the beauty of human communication, which goes beyond words and finds expression in actions.

Goodbye is a greeting with many nuances. It's a farewell after a date, but also a greeting to what's to come. It expresses gratitude and appreciation for the company, and a commitment to meet again in the future. Farewell becomes a link between the past, the present and the future, celebrating the life that unfolds before us.

This cross-cultural gesture testifies to the intrinsic desire to connect with each other. Through goodbye, we establish a connection, sometimes brief but significant, with the people who cross our path. This connection is a reminder that despite our differences, we share a common humanity and the ability to communicate emotions and intentions without resorting to words.

In its simplicity, farewell also reminds us of the brevity of life and the importance of appreciating every moment. Goodbyes can be bittersweet. As we celebrate the memories we create, we also recognize the inevitability of separations. However, farewell keeps alive the spirit of those we met and allows us to keep the fire of shared experiences burning.

When we wave goodbye, we salute shared humanity. That's what I felt in the dozens of friendly waves I received and sent, while the reflection of the Eiffel Tower shone in the Seine. With a goodbye, we honor the present and the future, expressing what words cannot always convey.

As I write these lines, it is impossible not to remember the “Lord of Goodbye”:

«I've been coming to Praça Duque de Saldanha since I was left without anyone. I was born nearby, at my grandmother's house. A beautiful mansion that Calouste Gulbenkian wanted to buy. Life takes strange turns, my destiny is to wave to those who greet me. I'm subject to people calling me crazy, but I don't care. Of my loneliness I know».
João Manuel Serra, the «Lord of Goodbye»

Goodbye is longing. It is hope for what is yet to come. But it's also loneliness.



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