Saying goodbye sucks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time doing it.
Today we had to have two different goodbye sessions. The first was with the church where we taught the adult English class during most of 2006. I was glad they gave us minute to speak (with a translator) because they really have been like a big family to us this year, with all kinds of people going out of their way to make us feel welcome in Taiwan and seeing that we were taken care of. It was good to get to thank everyone, and enjoyable to search the crowd and deliberately make eye contact with specific people at the right time. Maybe I just liked being able to look over a crowd and see so many faces that are no longer strangers, people we can greet warmly by name and with whom we have some great shared memories. Cé-méi even made us goodbye card!
Then tonight some friends came over, most of whom were on that New Year’s trip to Wulai hot springs. Jessica cooked enchiladas for everyone, and then we played má jiàng. Surely we must be the first people ever in Taiwan to combine má jiàng with Mexican food. I was surprised at how they seemed to like it. I have yet to see Mexican anything here (according to one of our students: “Oh, Taiwan has Mexican food! T.G.I.Friday’s!”).
They ended the evening with a dinosaur picture (their suggestion), which I’ll post as soon as Wén-dí e-mails it to me. Here’s the first one.
It’s hard to say goodbye, and weird. We just got here a year ago. Now it’s like, “See you ‘later.’ We’re off to some place we’ve never been and don’t have specific plans beyond the immediate future. Good thing there’s Skype. Maybe next time we talk we won’t have to use any English!” Ugh. It’s too bad we can’t celebrate time together without having to end it. Maybe it’s a shadow and sunshine kind of thing.