This post started about
two three weeks ago. So if it seems a little disjointed its just due to a little time warp.
Sunday morning at Stone Lodge. It’s been a couple of days to say farewell to Geoff and Rhona. Robyn is leading a yoga and meditation session, and the kids finally dragged themselves out of bed. Now they’re off an a new adventure sneaking around the grounds, sticks in hand no doubt protecting us all from the looming threats of dragons or fire benders. It’s a good life this one. But it has reminded me that it will always be full of these farewells. There were people that left last year, but we were still in the throes of figuring out what we’d done and how we ended up here. Now it’s people we’ve built real relationships with and it includes Maddox’s friends too. It will be an interesting summer and transition. I’m sure there will be bumps and tears but these are the times that help us grow.
There are still three weeks of school left so this might be a little premature but the weekend has brought it all to mind. On the drive home, after an extremely hot yet fun hike up Krobo, the kids passed out in the back, Michael Franti singing on the stereo, Robyn and I hashed this out a bit more. Seems the same things were on her mind.
You see, it’s not that these people we were saying farewell to were our best friends. In fact they were people that, if you’re counting hours, we probably had not spent as much time with as some others. But they were the people that always felt good to know they are around. Mostly because they always are. The ones that show up when you need them and in turn you know you would do anything to help them too. They have a smile or a kick in the pants handy any time you need it and they always know which one you need. Robyn and I turned to talking about the people that we appreciate in our lives right now. The ones that fit this description. We may not be going out every weekend with them, but we appreciate them and consider them the best kind of friends.
I’m still relatively new to all this, but I think this is just part of this expat life we’ve chosen. You need those people around who will sit and talk about nothing in the blazing sun for a bit, play some cards on a week night, get up early for a yoga session, have fun laughing and making plans for those good folks who are moving on or even just sit down and eat a cupcake in front of you. It makes life easier and a lot more fun. So to my friends here in Ghana, I appreciate you and I realize that at some point it will be each of us moving on. But that’s part of what we’ve chosen and probably part of why we’re friends. Because for me anyway it’s quality more than quantity.
Since that weekend, we’ve packed up our house, moved about 4/5 of our stuff to a new house and are within
4.5 2 days of the end of another school year. Right now Maddox is sacked out asleep and Josie is “reading a book” curled up on the couch with Robyn. She has a knack for more or less memorizing and reciting any book that’s been read to her more than once. My little one has been hit with the sickness this weekend and drifted in and out of fever all day. She’s a trooper though and has a great few hours of tylenol induced energy from time to time today. Its hard to see your kids sick, but this little one has been incredibly cute through it all, and I got a few extra snuggles today as well.
We had one another farewell dinner for friends last night. A special time for sure. But the best thing to come from the evening was from Maddox. As we drove to dinner he said, “I don’t want to leave Ghana this summer.” I can’t explain to you how wonderful that was to hear. Of course, it will be interesting to hear what he says as we board the plane from the States headed back this way after a summer full of grandparents and cousins, but I’ll hold on to the sound of his little voice saying that for now.
Today was our farewell staff meeting. Its full of slide shows and speeches, jokes and tears. Its an important time in the international school as we recognize and value these transitions. People come and go in this life. Its just how it is. There’s a sadness to it of course. Friends you might not see again. Colleagues who’s shoes will be hard to fill. But there’s also something really cool about it. Each and everyone of those people leaving is going on to a new chapter, a new adventure in their lives. When you look at it that way, in the unselfish way, its a beautiful thing this life we’ve all chosen. Colleagues are headed for new lives in places like Laos, Canada, Hong Kong, Sweden, Pakistan, and many others. We are creating a global network of friends with incredible stories and insight. And even though it seems we may never see each other again, the chances are actually pretty good. It doesn’t take long among a group of international teachers for the discussion to turn to connections.
So I’ll leave it at this. It can be heartbreaking to see the long face and wistful eyes of your seven year old as he fights back tears. Especially when he’s not really sure what he’s sad about. Could be his best friend moving out of the country in a few days, the end of the school year, moving to a new house across town, or a summer away from his home that he loves. Transition is hard. But that’s ok. We all go through it and we’ll do our best to teach him that its ok to be sad, in fact its a good thing.
But the other thing he said in the car that night a week or so ago was something like, “there’s just so much culture for us to be a part of here.” And that is just beautiful and makes it all feel right.
No new pictures. Just a retrospective of some of the “culture” we’ve had the honor to experience.