April 18, 2011

En Disant Au Revoir

I am no longer an English language assistant. I said goodbye to my students all throughout the week, and I said au revoir to my colleagues on Friday.

What is it about saying goodbye that makes you really feel a part of something?

While the other teachers were nice to me all year and made an effort to get to know me, and some of them I even saw outside of school or had great conversations with in the teacher’s lounge, I always felt a bit a part.

This was partly because of the age differences, partly because they already knew each other so well, partly because I was only going to be there for a short time, and partly because it was my second year as an assistant, so I already had a group of friends outside of the school thus making me less clingy towards the English teaching staff.

But on my last day there, the English teachers I worked with presented me with a card full of “mercies” and well wishes, as well as some gifts.

It was totally unexpected. It was so nice of them.

I loved all the gifts (a Paris t-shirt and two French novels that take place in le Nord).

I went around and faire-d la bise with them all (as is the polite way to say merci to someone after they give you a gift). I even gave the fellow American teacher an American hug.

Then when it was time to leave, everybody wanted goodbye bises (cheek kisses) as well.

I had honestly never felt more a part of the group than in that moment. It was great to know how much they appreciated my work and that they liked having me around.

Although I was ready to be done with having to wake up at 5am in order to catch the train to get to work on time, saying goodbye to the wonderful teachers I met while being an assistant made me wish I could stay till the end of the year.

With a lot of them, it was the first time we had ever faire-d la bise, and due to the French in me, it made me feel like a boundary had been broken between us. I was no longer their English assistant. I was becoming a friend.

All of them expressed a desire to keep in touch, and I really hope we do.

I hope it really was an au revoir (until we meet again) and not an "adieu.”


  1. What is it about saying goodbye that makes you really feel a part of something

    AGREED! This is my last week at my job and I've never felt closer to my colleagues than now when they are calling me to wish me well. Its a strange feeling isn't it?

  2. Lovely! And now?! Alors...Qu-est ce que tu fait?

    Can't wait to see what's next!

  3. I found your blog through la fourchette.

    I hope you will enjoy sleeping instead of waking at such an early hour. I am adding you to my blog list and hope you will stop by for a visit at la reportiste.

    What is next for you?

  4. A great blog a great piece. You let the world see how you truly feel. Excellent.

  5. Honestly touched a little bit right now...I think I'm tearing up? Weird. Great job. Very proud and happy for you right now, LP.

  6. Such a lovely, sweet post! I felt the same way when I wrapped up my 2nd year of teaching in the rural south...teaching down there was the hardest thing I've ever done, but saying goodbye was even harder. What will you be up to next?

  7. Jenna: It is! This isn't the first time this has happened to me. It's a strange phenomenon. Science should get on it.

    Kris: Welcome! I'm glad you like my blog :) As for what comes next.. I'm currently looking for a job. I want to stay in Lille for at least one more year.

    Leslie: The Big Question! I'm currently looking for a job in le Nord. If you know of anything feel free to inform me!

    Mike: Thank you!

    John: Thanks JP! :)

    Linds: Thanks! There is something special in saying goodbye. I can't imagine teaching in the rural south! What a crazy experience. As for what comes next... that is the question. I'm currently on the job search. I want to stay in Lille!


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