I remember this evening clearly. It was sticky hot, but an absolutely gorgeous Beijing summer night. We Didid across town to meet up and say goodbye to two people who we love like family. Internationally, you live the life of hellos and goodbyes. So many, “nice to meet yous”, and also “we’ll have to plan a trip and meet in the middle sometime soon.” Far too frequently, words are passed and then disappear along with the people who have been such a part of your story, in your location, where ever that may be. There’s a difference between the leavers and the stayers, the ones who are new to the circuit and to those who are freshly landed. I’m not sure where we fall, perhaps somewhere in between; however, the years are passing quickly and we’ve been around a few blocks by now.
When we said goodbye to these people, we were sure we’d be seeing them again. One thing we have definitely learned is, even if those holiday meet ups don’t happen, life has a funny way of bringing you back together again. I remember walking on the streets of Bangkok and randomly running into a very close friend who I had no idea was anywhere near Thailand. Another time, I was in Chennai at a school and came face to face with a former colleague I hadn’t seen in years. The world is large, but the international school system is small. And then there are just those people-those people who you know that no matter the distance apart, the oceans between, you will find your way back together again.
8 months ago, we said goodbye to those people. Those people were ones we actively sought out when we were struggling with a teaching dilemma. Ones who we were able to have tough conversations with and be vulnerable. Those people who we hugged goodbye and had no idea when we would be seeing them again. Those people who sent us pictures from their new home in Nairobi-of the school, of their yard with chickens, of them out on safari, and camping at the edge of a crater. Those people who kept saying, “Come, you’d love it here.” Those people who, with each text, we’d laugh and say, “yeah right.” Those people who slowly made us think “what it”. Those people who we will be soon living down the street. Those people who we will circle back to and say hello once again.