We have three more days of school. My thoughts of Bainbridge Island, Seattle and summer time have temporarily been replaced by a droning in my head. All I can think is “I am not cut out for this lifestyle.” I’m not cut out for emotional goodbyes every year. For watching friends turned family cut ties and head out across the globe. For reconfiguring my life every three (or so) years. There is so much about our lifestyle that is typical. Our kids play soccer on Saturdays, we juggle work and home life, and there’s never enough time to get everything done. But this? This saying goodbye to people who’ve become such a part of your life simply because they’ve decided to move on? Completely unfair. And painful. There are some friends that you know very well that, despite your best efforts, you may never run into again. Then there are those friends that you know you will cross paths with again. The goodbyes are temporary, but no less painful.
The international teaching community is so small. So very small. Everything and everyone falls into the six degrees of separation category. And so, chances are, we will meet these friends again. But now? In June? Nothing is guaranteed.
And so today was the day that we said goodbye to our friends and colleagues. It’s amazing how a relatively simple decision because increasingly complex as the realities become evident. It’s easy to talk of walking away. Of being fed up with this or that. But when the time comes to have those last lunches together there’s nothing easy about the lump in your throat or the burning in your chest. There’s nothing that will ease the emptiness left in the absence of friends and colleagues you’ve seen daily.
But the tide will turn. The summer will come and these overwhelming emotions will be replaced by fresh air and slower days. August and its new beginnings will dawn upon us and the painful absence will be numbed by new friends and experiences.
And it’s all a part of this lifestyle.