At the end of a visit with my grandma, just before we’d go our separate ways, she’d shower me with affection and leave me with a few words of wisdom. One of her favorite things to say before parting was “Skriv till mig när du kommer till Liverpool.” This phrase was Swedish for “Write me when you get to Liverpool.” It was something her mother, who emigrated from Sweden to Wisconsin at age 15, always said to her and in fact, it was what her mother urged her when she set off for America. At the time my great-grandmother set sail for America, the major hub for ships was Liverpool. Liverpool would have been the last city where she could have written home to alert her family of her whereabouts and general state of things before heading to America. “Write me when you get to Liverpool” was their way of saying, “Call me when you get there.” My grandma often used it in a “don’t be a stranger” kind of way. It’s stuck and I often say to people in my family, “Write me when you get to Liverpool” whenever they go on a trip.
As I’ve been preparing to move to New York City and saying goodbye to friends, I find myself using archaic sayings to people when we part. I don’t really like to say things like, “Goodbye, I’ll miss you” or “stay in touch.” At this point in my life, I am surrounded by people who I will always remain close with, so I don’t need to remind them to stay in touch, as we always will. I also don’t like sentimental goodbyes around the time of an exciting move. Sentimental goodbyes imply that something sad is happening and actually, this move is quite the opposite. Instead of sappy goodbyes, I find myself saying, “If you’re ever in Manhattan, look me up.” Like someone could grab a White Pages in Manhattan and be able to find me listed there. It’s also my way of reminding people, “Hey! You now have a friend in New York! Use that to your advantage.”
Similar to “look me up,” I also enjoy saying, “Drop me a line.” These days it’s fairly easy to drop someone a line via text message, Facebook, Twitter, and [insert your favorite social network here], but I envision the line to be dropped in the form of a hand written note. As if a friend in town would write me a note (preferably on parchment paper with the help of a quill) alerting them of their whereabouts and I would then meet them at some dark bistro in Manhattan for a drink and a meeting of the minds.
I’m not one for sappy, dramatic goodbyes. Instead, I prefer a simple “see you later” or “look me up” to remind my loved ones that really, nothing’s going to change except the distance between our respective houses. However, I do promise that I will write when I get to Liverpool.