Personal, Switzerland

Auf wieder sehen

Goodbye. So long. Til next time. I’m outta here.

Today was the last day of school. The children spoiled me with gifts of Swiss chocolates and coffee mugs as well as cuddly toys, lavendar aromatherapy kits and even champagne glasses (!) for our final goodbyes. We spent our last day together mostly just hanging out before the Farewell Assembly which was held for the students/families and teachers leaving. By the time I stood up to present gifts to two of my students, I had been stifling the tears for three-quarters of an hour and there would be no speeches from me.

When it came time for my boss to bid me farewell in front of the entire school student population, parents and colleagues, I was ready but kept thoughts and thanks close to my heart so as not to open the flood gates. Being presented with a farewell of champagne signified that I was leaving for happy reasons (what else is there but to join your love in the same home after a year apart?). But regardless of good reasons or not, I am an emotional woman. PMSing, packing up and moving house and classroom as well as the last day of school all at once can be a bit of a load to carry. But I do alright.

I think it was after the assembly that got me. I had moms coming up and hugging me, crying and so sad to say goodbye. I was deeply touched that I had made such an impact on them and their children’s lives in one year. I also believe that when there is a struggle involved, the reward is that much more important and this was the case with my job and everything that went with it. Our school community was smaller than I have ever experienced and the active involvement of the parents, the support of the staff and the way that I knew every child in this school was also an entirely new experience for me. There are many things that I will take with me to my future endeavours that I have learned in my time here, albeit being extremely lonely and finding life difficult at times. Perhaps this was another reason my school community felt so tight; there wasn’t much of a community outside of it for me here.

In my exit interview this week my boss told me that I am outspoken and I always say what’s on my mind and this is a good character trait but sometimes I need to be more sensitive to how what I say affects others. This is true. I love that she could tell me this. And she has appreciated my constructive thoughts and ideas over the course of the year.

I am so happy to be embarking on the life ahead. The changes that have arrived, all with Ali by my side. I could hardly contain the excitement while I waited for his train to arrive on Monday afternoon. It would be the last time he would visit and we would be leaving TOGETHER. What an amazing concept. After a year apart with sporadic visits, we would finally be together without a separation in sight. I am so thankful to have had his help to organise my move, carry box after box to be posted (there were eight and could have been more except for some shortage in the finance area) as well as helping me clean this apartment to Swiss standards. He came to school when we had sports day, where my team won!!!! He has been nothing but supportive and I am sure it can be difficult, for as sure as I am happy to be making this move, leaving something you have worked hard to normalise, is never easy.

There are more people to leave and as one of my students parents hugged me tight before bidding me one more farewell, I thought to myself, she’s done this too. She’s left a life and started over and she knows what it’s all about. Even though it is new and exciting, it’s still new. And I have done it SO many times. But everytime I have done it before, it was ALONE.

For the first time in over six years I am doing it with someone. The love of my life. For the first time in six years I am moving to a land where the main language is English. And perhaps, we will stay awhile.

There is never enough room in the boxes or the bags. But leaving things behind isn’t much of an issue anymore. Let go. Go on.