Today was the very last day of school. I saw just a few of my kids this morning before I went to the bank, where I stayed for close to three hours, and when I came back all the faculty were eating lunch together at the annual end-of-year farewell party where the superintendent says a fond farewell to the teachers who are leaving. I gave a tiny speech, something about finding my place in the world, and thanked everyone for showing me such friendship over my two years here.
The afternoon was supposed to be work, but instead it was a long meeting. Go figure. Tomorrow I have to go back to school to wrap up all of my business with the school and then it’s off to Sao Paulo for a final Starbucks adventure. Friday is back to banking business and, if all goes well, Saturday I head home. (Or as my porteiro Marco puts it, “Gina for home.”)
Looking at my plans in that above paragraph is kind of sad for me. There’s so much bureaucratic nonsense, so much running around, so much signing my name and getting things authorized and packing things up that I’m not even able to be in the moment. When one of my boys, who nicknamed himself The Butterfly, said goodbye to me today, I barely realized that it would be the last time I’d see him. It was as today were a Friday and it will be just a weekend separating us. But that’s not the case, and it wasn’t until I was walking up the hill toward the main gates of the school, and realized how quiet it was, how beautiful and silent and lacking all my little kids that I hung my head and let the tears come out.
I said good bye, also, to one of my best friends here while I was standing in the business office discussing a phone bill. That’s not the way it should be! And while I know I’ll see her again, it’s just not the way goodbyes should work. You don’t say goodbye to two years while trying to figure out whether or not the automatic debit has gone through or not.
I want these last days to be calm ones where I can take in the scenery and say my goodbyes the proper way. But they’re slowly leaving, all the ones I really care about, and I’m afraid these goodbyes weren’t sincere. Not the way I wanted them to be. But then, if it were up to me, there would be no goodbyes and all these people, little and big, would come with me no matter where I go.
I took down my final piece of art from the walls just now. It’s a palm frond that Dennis found on the street and painted. We argued over whether or not it should go on a wall because it came off of the street and I wasn’t about to have urban detritus on my walls. But it went up sometime last May, and it’s stayed up until today. And now it’ll come home with me and go somewhere else on some other wall in our new home. My bags are spread out on the dining room floor, slowly filling and bulging with books and towels and scarves.
That’s it, folks. Bare walls, hollow goodbyes, and my two years wrapped up in a few bags. Parting is such sweet sorrow.