Friday, April 13

about today

I knew, of course, when I arrived, that today would eventually come. And, back in October, when I had no apartment, no easy way to stay in contact with my family, no community, no sense of my place, no idea of how to connect to my students, and little to no command of the language, I was counting the days. I marked them off on calendars I made myself.

This was my last day of school here. I can't believe it. It's unreal that I won't come back here after the vacation; unreal that there is a good chance I will never see many of my students again. It is my students who, along with a few other (very, very special) people, made life here beautiful.

Hearing Pierre's maximum-volume HELLO I-RAANNN! as he sped past my classroom to German every week (no one here pronounces my name right, but that's okay). Petulant Adrian who refused to say goodbye but wrote me a 'hello note' instead. Sweet and funny Claire and Léa. And the two-hundred-some others, all of whom somehow became a part of me. Who came to say goodbye today and cheered for me and made me cry.

I have their photos and I have their notes, and I have a tiny pair of garnet earrings from them. But I would rather have another year.


Blogger  said...

...'hope you don't mind a stranger commenting... i'm one of your blog visitors, hello! just wanted to say that days like that are hard, really, i've had some myself and they pull at your gut somewhat, but are filled with the happy memories too. i like that your student wrote you a hello note too - in italian ciao is used to say hello and goodbye. i like it that way, because somehow it is a premature hello for the next time you meet up, a way of not having endings, just new beginnings. all the best, and have fun!

11:55 AM  
Anonymous sally said...

Goodbyes are always so difficult. But I'm so glad you had such a special time in France. And I know your students will miss you dearly. But...I cannot wait for you to return to the States...and most importantly, to Portland. =)

1:32 PM  
Blogger stephanie s said...

congratulations on letting france work it's way in... so now, you can bring a little of it home to live within you.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful experience.

Eireann, I wonder if it would be all right to reprint one of your poems on my blog for National Poetry Month. Obviously it would be fully attributed and include the information on buying the book. Could you let me know if that's OK?

5:36 PM  
Blogger Mama Urchin said...

I'm glad your time spent in France was good enough to make the goodbyes hard. Still, I hope the goodbyes get easier to bear.

6:24 PM  
Blogger tiffany et al. said...

i know exactly how you feel. i did the jet program in nara, japan for two years. when i left, there was a school assembly so i could give a farewell speech. after i finished, they all stood up and said as a chorus "we will always be your students" then they sang the school song. of all the things i miss about japan, i miss my students the most and even tear up now whenever i talk about them. it was for them that i started my blog, in fact. wishing you the best on your transition. take care.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Di said...

It was lovely the way that you wrote about your students and your time in France. it is amazing how a few months and a few good friends can transform your view of life! As long as we have friends we have everything!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Oh, you said it all so well. Having had the experience of leaving one high school after two years to teach at my alma mater, and then leaving there after two years to stay home with my brood of two, I can relate to the relationships and the tug at your heart and those special moments, especially those typically angsty teenaged ones where they needed me so. Do they remember that moment still? Do they know how flattered I was that they thought I could help, that I might be able to fix it all?
Every now and again, a student's face will pop into my head and it makes me smile. I hope you will always have that.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Dawbis said...

aw, that is too sweet. i would miss them too if they were my students, but at least you will always have the memories to hold onto. you're brave for taking such a leap into the unknown.

3:52 PM  

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