Colombia. Florida. Alabama. Utah. Ohio. Florida. Utah. Missouri.
I am no stranger to picking up my entire life into a few suitcases and boxes and starting a new chapter in a new place. When I was younger, I used to curse my parents for making the decision, without any input from me whatsoever, to uproot our family, force me to leave everything that I knew and loved, to move to a new, scary, friendless place.
3. 12. 15. 18. 23. 26. 30. 32.
It was easier to let go the older I got. After a few years in any one place, I'd start to feel an itch for shiny newness, for something life changing, awe inspiring, blow your mind...ing. I looked forward to meeting new people, to getting to know a new neighborhood, to finding the perfect local bookstore and the coffee shop where you could spend hours alone or in conversation. I am thankful that I moved so much. I am thankful that my parents made the decision to do so. I am so, so thankful.
So, when I think about moving every few months to a new place, my adult heart fills with excitement and anticipation: new food! New culture! New people! We really don't expect to make too many close friends, since the 3-6-month time scale we have doesn't allow for the proper fermentation of adult friendships. However, it wasn't until we put Des into daycare and preschool that we began to second-guess our lifestyle (again. and again. and again. Happens once every so often).
Needless to say, I was bawling by the time I rang the doorbell to pick Des up from this: his last day at his sweet, adorable, little school. I recognized how momentous this occasion was and perhaps this was the reason I was crying so much. I looked at all of his little friends who told him that they loved him very much and were going to miss him and cried even harder.
Des didn't shed a single tear. He said "chao!" and didn't even look back.
1 week later, he was attending preschool in Oaxaca, Mexico at Colegio Teizcali. He would be there a little over a month. Easy peasy, right? No tears this time, I told myself. One month isn't that long to form close ties with a community. It will be super easy to say goodbye and dust our hands off. But, you can probably guess what did happen. I cried like a baby when, during Desmond's last day of school, a little girl told us that she was going to cry because she would miss Desmond so much. We later asked Des what her name was and he didn't have a clue.
His teacher, Maestra Gaby, threw a going away surprise party for Des. All of the kids' parents brought in food and some gifts for him. For the blonde "guero" (light-skinned person) who was there for only a month. And we had no idea until Des came home that day. It blew me away how generous they were with their love and affection for my son.
And this is what makes me the saddest about leaving places: how wonderful and kind and caring people are with us and especially our children. My son doesn't have to attend a school or live in a place for years upon years to form special relationships. Because we are making a special effort to maintain ties to people we meet (more about that on a later post), we could maintain friendships with people all around the world, and that is the most beautiful part of our lives.