I suck at goodbyes. I prolong them. I avoid them. I pretty much live in denial until the last possible moment where I am forced to face them. I have friends who choose to deal with each moment as if it’s our last, getting all sappy and sentimental about how this is our last brunch together, our last baguette, our last tooth-brushing session…This in turn makes me awkwardly clam up as they blatantly penetrate the denial walls I have so craftily built. The result usually consists of me blurting something like, “No! We still have time!!” and shaming them for their raw sentiment. Like I said, I suck at goodbyes.
But is there ever a good way to do it? Are there people who actually like goodbyes? Does it get easier the more you have to do it?
At this point I’ve said my fair share of goodbyes- family, community and childhood friends for college, my Grecian union of lovely ladies during my study abroad, my college community, my Boston kin, students -so many students- and now my international clan. And for me it never gets easier. I leave a little piece of my heart in each place. And even if giving a minuscule sliver of your heart makes it that much more painful when you go, I think it’s worth it. But it doesn’t mean goodbyes are easy.
It’s especially hard as a teacher. You’re in a constant state of goodbyes. And with foreign students there really is a finality to the farewell. As I prepared for my final classes this morning I was surprised to feel slightly anxious. Would they care? Would I be memorable? They’ll have other English assistants next year. I’m just one of many, but they will forever be imprinted in my memory.
It was helpful to remember the questions they asked what feels like forever ago and remember how we’d grown as a group. How I’d gained (and earned!) their respect, their trust and their laughter.
Looking at things in retrospect is surreal. The places and people that once seemed intimidating, and so foreign (in my case literally), have become a part of you and will forever make up an aspect of your identity.
I was relieved to finish my day with a smile on my face and reinforcement on my walls of denial (my students did a damn good job of breaking them down). We laughed, we drew, we learned and we said farewells. At the end of the day I was left speechless by one of my favorite classes who presented me with a beautiful card.
Some of my favorite “words”:
“I will miss you very, I like you so much”.
“I will miss your lessons…they were interesting, captivating, various and so fun! I hope you’ll keep a good memory of your stay and job here. Good continuation.”
“Anna, I’m really happy about the moments we spent together! I was really enjoying your knowledge. If you liked your journey, you can always come back!”
“Thanks for your amazing lessons!”
“Dear Anna, your lesson was very nice and I enjoyed it. I’ll miss you alot…Your Florian. P.S. I love you”.
“Thank you for everythinks. 🙂 You’ll miss us.”
Don’t know if that’s what she meant to say, but it’s true. I will miss them. And I’m going to miss teaching.
So Montbeliard, it’s time I bid you adieu. As much as we’ve had our ups and downs, and as much as I have trash-talked you when we weren’t together, Montbeliard you were my home. And today a little piece of my heart will remain with you.