Rach's Ramblings

Thoughts from another world

Until we meet again…

on May 18, 2014

My boys love playing with the timer on my iPad. They set the timer and change the sound to an obscure tone like ‘old car horn’ and then giggle when it goes off.

But there is another timer ticking in these final weeks of term. A timer that leads to farewells.

The nature of life in an international school is that yearly there is a group of people who leave. They go back to their old lives or move on to other cross cultural adventures. When we arrived I heard the names of those who had left- there were hints of them in stories or they were mentioned as previous owners of ‘this lamp’ or ‘that sari’. My house speaks of past inhabitants- stickers on windows, pencilled marks on doors, nails in odd places. Woodstock echoes with the voices of people who have lived, worked and laughed here over the span of 150 years.

This is my second round of farewells. Once again there will be so many goodbyes to be said when the final bell goes for the school year. They loom before me, sitting on the horizon where there is no avoiding them. The inexorable march of time marches loudly and I can’t block my ears. I keep reminding myself that these dear ones are not dying, but merely moving away….but it feels a bit like a death. They will not be part of our life here anymore. I won’t share smiles and tears and adventures with them here again. I know that the tremors of their leaving will shake and hurt and leave cracks, but I also know that as time moves on, the community that is our life will shift and adjust and settle into new patterns and shapes. And it will be ok. There is such beauty in having loved and lived and shared life with these bright stars and I am different and changed from having shared my space with them for a short while.

There is the temptation in this expat life, to keep the relationships shallow so the uprooting is less painful. The national staff who stay year after year must find this very tempting, but they invest in each new batch of staff with energy and love. And so it must be. Shallow is empty and unrewarding. In the depths is where the beauty lies.

As that timer ticks on towards farewells, I don’t want to run from it. I won’t welcome the sound as the timer runs to zero, but at least I know it’s coming and I have no regrets from the time we’ve spent and the love I’ve received and given. And as dear friends leave, there are spaces left vacant that are ready to receive new friends, and so the cycle begins again.

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One response to “Until we meet again…

  1. Melinda Snader says:

    Well said, Rach! I can tell you that it’s really hard being on both sides. Thanks for not saying good bye too early, but being a friend till the end!

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