Saturday, April 7, 2012

A departure

11 December 2011

I didn't make this entry at the time it happened because I was too emotional to write it (or think about it).  So now it's April, I have to finalize my own departure details, and I have to face the facts.  We all have to go home sometime.  
~ Mary, 07 April 2012


Yesterday one of our teachers went back to her home country.  Some Brazilian friends organized a creative send-off, waiting in front of the school until she came out the door.  It was awesome.

Photo: A. Heming

Photo: A. Heming
And she steps out the door...
Photo: A. Heming
And sees us...
Photo: A. Heming
Waiting a long time for her ride we had time for one last chimarrão together.
Photo: A. Heming
I was not so emotional at the actual time of her departure, it seemed more like a farewell than a goodbye.

However, the next day when I went to work and her schedule clipboard was empty... that was when the shock hit, she was really gone, our little team changed permanently. I got so emotional that I had to leave the office.  The lunch table the following day was also really painful.  Our one saving grace that day was that we had a guest sitting in her place, so although awkward, at least we didn't have an empty chair there.  Still, swallowing was difficult despite the best efforts of the cook and I found myself blinking an awful lot.

These five months knowing her were a blessing, and I wish her blessings, safe travels, and many happy endings wherever she goes, as she has a grand spirit of adventure.  I hope we will meet again, another continent, another time.

This coming and going is a part of living abroad that on the one hand brings me into contact with so many new and wonderful people, and on the other hand also means saying goodbye to them eventually.

Even many years later it is sometimes hard to face the fact that I'll never see some of my former colleagues and friends again. I cannot believe I haven't been back to Japan yet - a sort of reverse culture shock that has never really left me.

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