Lesson #14: A grandiose goodbye isn’t always necessary

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When it comes to endings I am admittedly sappy. I was the girl who come college graduation made my friends sit around a bonfire so that we could all ceremoniously burn our insecurities about the future. When high school ended I rallied the troops together and made everyone carve their name into a huge mushroom that I had found growing in my backyard. So I guess it goes without saying that I often find it hard to move on, hence the slightly over the top parting gestures.

Leaving Thabo, however, feels different. Yes, I am saying goodbye to a lot. There are the people who have impacted me, who have shown me compassion in its most uncomplicated form, and that is not something I will soon forget. There are my students whom I will fiercely miss. There is the physical environment that I have come to call home, Isaan, a word that conquers up both a feeling of stifling claustrophobia and untapped possibility. Plus there are the small things: sticky rice and mango from the market, my balcony, the office beach chair (my designated nap spot), my morning bike ride to school, my horrible teacher skirts that I have come to love…

I am leaving so much, and while a small part of me feels obligated to indulge in a spiritual Mekong river swim, the reality is that I am more than ready to move on. No drawn out ceremony needed. Knowing how I usually treat goodbyes, this parting feels strange. I guess I have always equated goodbyes with a summary of my entire experience. As if how I leave it quantifies what it actually meant to me. Well saying goodbye to Thabo is destroying that theory. I loved the shit out of this town and this experience, but I could not be more eager to leave. Physically aching to change it up. I have exhausted Thabo, and Thabo has exhausted me. We are a relationship gone stale, we’ve squeezed every last drop out of one another. And thats ok. Sometimes things are supposed to end, doesn’t mean they weren’t brilliant.

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