Friday, April 2, 2010
Well here I am. 9:00AM on the day of my departure from the North of France.
My suitcase has surely exceeded its weight limit, and perhaps so have I with the profuse amounts of wine, bread and cheese I have been stuffing myself with lately--my final French indulgences in case it should be a while until my next taste.
Looking back I have feelings of satisfaction, embarassement, and also simple happiness. I really can't remember what I expected this year to be. There were so many uncertainties followed by so many regrets and anxieties after my arrival.
I scowled myself for my complaints and those times when I had quitting on my mind, but I know that this was a challenge, large or small, and I have completed and succeeded, nevertheless.
This year I have seen The Netherlands, England, Belgium and of course Sweden, and places in France I had never before visited.
I have tasted cow tongue, eaten chantilly in Chantilly, reunited with old friends in Paris, gotten to really know my brother and was welcomed into so many homes and families as one of their own. This year was a year of saints--of people completely selflessly opening themselves up and offering them to me. Never before, especially in my times in France, have I seen so much warmth and kindness. What I will take away most from this year are the people, for I know with the friends I have made during my stay here, we are not saying "au revoir"today, but instead "à bientôt."
My last day of classes was yesterday, and by far one of the greatest highlights of this experience has been teaching and my wonderful students and colleagues.
I was given my own personal farewell concert with a medley of English songs including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Summer Nights," "Maria," and many more classics. I was bombarded with hugs, kisses, homemade cards and gifts and, the greatest compliment, tears from my teachers and recognition that I can truly be a teacher.
I have loved my time teaching and I now am aware of the incredible effect children have on me. I am still not sure where this life of mine is going, but for the first time I am not stressed by that. I am content in seeing it play out, however long it shall take.
Merci, France. Another unforgettable year.
Now on to the next one...