Ahh, the bittersweet ending to the International Teacher's year. I've written about it before and I'm sure I'll write about it again because it always surprises me just how bittersweet it is. You can't help but be elated at the thought of the long summer days stretching out before you in bursts of family, friends, and travel. Oh, and no students. And sleeping in. And no students. Wait, I already said that... but it does bear repeating (bear or bare...?). I imagine in a local school setting, the teachers hug and say their goodbyes on that last day, just as we do. But they are only saying goodbye for the summer. Sure, maybe one or two teachers are moving on to greener pastures- or other careers. But for the most part, if my high school days are any indication, most teachers get in and stay.
Not so in the International World. We sign two-year contracts. After that, it's usually just one year at a time. I would say, on average, we stay in a place for three years. Sometimes it's two, sometimes is more... and yes, sometimes you meet that teacher or family who has been there for more years that you've been alive. But the International Teacher is typically a nomad and always on the lookout for that next amazing school, the next fantastic adventure. And so, we are constantly saying real goodbyes to friends who we are not sure if we will ever see again. There are always more than a few tears.
But the upside is this: We usually do see each other again, especially those amazing friends you make along the way. This year, friends of ours are moving to Bangladesh, Budapest, and Jordan. There are two new places to travel and visit (I've been to Jordan). We have close friends going to Cairo and one in Mumbai. Others are moving to Malaysia (it's truly Asia) and we still have friends in China. We have friends all over the world... what an amazing feeling!
So yes, it is bitter to say goodbye. But it is sweet to know that we will probably cross paths again. Good luck friends, in your next great adventure!