As the exams were coming nearer we realized that we had to make a very important decision for our future.
I already had decided that I wanted go back to Holland. My whole life was orientated now on spending my future in Holland. I even had managed to get myself a grant at a Dutch University for another six years of study.
I noticed that my fellow students only could get lousy jobs or no job at all. I wanted to study more. Not only to get a better job but also that I didn't feel ready yet for the working life, and I was homesick. I wanted to go back to my family, to live the Dutch way of life.
My decision to go back to Holland put Barbara in a very difficult situation. She had to make a choice. If she followed me then she had to break with her family, leaving her Chinese culture behind, living in a land where it would be difficult for her to make a career. Also I lived a life that she didn't understand and I had no income to support her. Following common sense Barbara made her choice and decided to stay in England.
We were both not surprised by our decisions. Barbara always knew that I wanted to go back to Holland one day. She also knew that I would feel very unhappy if she managed to persuade me to stay in England for her. I knew that Barbara would never leave her mother for me. I suppose we both knew that one day this moment would come. Still, I think that Barbara was very disappointed in me that I even didnt try to start this new life 'with her, just to give it a chance. None the less we understood and respected each other's choices and we didn't make it difficult for each other. We accepted that our relation was just not going to work; we were too different from each other. Not only were our characters so different but also in the way we wanted to fill in our lives.
Our break up was not caused by another lover, or by fierce arguments, just by pragmatism and being realistic. This time it was a goodbye without emotions (those are the worst I have been told), a merely acceptance of the situation. Just a simple goodbye and a take care, wishing each other the best in our further life.
A few weeks later I left for Holland to start my new life there and a year later Barbara went to Hong Kong to start the life we all know so well.
Many years later my mother told me that she remembered that Barbara had phoned her in the period we decided to break up. Barbara asked her if my parents were prepared to financially support her and her mother if they did come to live in the Netherlands. I never knew that. It does mean that Barbara seriously did consider coming to the Netherlands with me.
(thanks to Natalie for the translation)