It’s a common letdown.
Graduated students visit their old school and see new buildings, different classes, unfamiliar faces.
People visit the town they used to live in and discover that the stores they visited as a kid have gone out of business, the book store is no longer on the street it used to be on, and that friendly neighbor grew old and died.
Early founders of large companies no longer active in the day-to-day management make a triumphant visit to the company’s headquarters and find a completely different corporate culture, "unnecessary" bureaucracy, and so forth.
The point is that places change. Buildings are destroyed. Shit happens. Ultimately, the most lasting memories are those rooted in people.
When I arrived in Zurich a couple days ago, I found a city virtually unchanged from when I spent three weeks here last summer. But as I reconnected with my wonderful friends and "family" here, it struck me that the reason why I love Zurich is only partly because it’s a great city. Mostly it’s the people. Zurich, for me, will be the personalities I spent time with, not the City’s museums, parks, or physical contours.
I’ve been on the road for only two weeks and the places I’ve been are already starting to blur. But not the people I’ve met.
The best way, then, to rekindle old memories is to stay connected with the people who had those shared experiences. The process is more physic than physical. Memories rooted in people are immortal.