A Bid Farewell
Such a strange, bittersweet sensation I'm feeling.
I leave my island paradise in fewer than forty-eight hours, and I'm still having just a little bit of trouble wrapping my mind around it.
It's not that I don't want to go -- I do. My time here is definitely done. Professionally, I need to find new challenges and growth. Personally, I've had it up to my eyebrows with circular roads, shite customer service, craptacular shopping, the lack of sports, and asshole boy situations that are unavoidable because of the island's small size.
But, in the end, I will miss this place dearly.
I will miss being able to make the two-minute walk to "my" quiet Simpson Bay beach, pulling out a good book, and listening to the waves beside me and the planes overhead. I've been trying to blaze the azur-coloured waters onto my mind's eye, knowing that the cold, dark lakes of home will do their best to erase them. It has been a novel comfort knowing that the waters of the sea hug me so closely in this place.
I will miss the cacophony of sounds. For some, these sounds are irritants; but for me, they are almost symphonic. I adore the barking dogs, the Caribbean music bursting from homes, the planes taking off, the unhushed voices of neighbours laughing and calling to each other.
I will miss the plants and trees and flowers... the tropical factor. I have grown accustomed to palm and banana and papaya trees, aloe plants and cactus. I became used to the sometimes overpowering greenery around my house. Sand is everywhere in my home, and I came to cheerfully accept that it was merely symbolic of my new life.
I will miss the lifestyle and attitude of living here. When I left Toronto almost two years ago, I was stressed out and unhappy and ready for change. I needed to get away from what had developed into an uptight routine from day to day and week to week. Living here allowed me that luxury. It was refreshing and reviving, and I've learned not to take anything for granted. I've learned, truly, to slow down and look around once in a while.
I helped start a school here. Already, in two years, I've watched it change so much. I will miss my grade seven students, with whom I have shared so much in two years. They are the first group of kids to whom I have ever really attached myself, and my heart is paying for that now. I actually feel like I meant something to them -- that I have influenced them for the better. For the first time in seven years, I really understood why I went into teaching in the first place; the moment of realization was tearfully exhausting, but also such an epiphany. Those sevens reminded me. As a teacher, I made a difference here, and that has always been my biggest professional goal.
This journey will soon end, but another will begin. Isn't life exciting that way? I love looking back and trying to remember what I was thinking about my life two years ago. Did I ever imagine it to be like this? No way. And that excites me, because it means that there's probably a lot of the unexpected in store for me in the NEXT two years as well.
I met some of the most amazing friends and students here, and the memory pile is a huge one. So, yes, the ending is bittersweet -- both exciting and heartbreaking -- but it has been an amazingly unforgettable ride. My hands were raised high above the lap bar, my eyes were wide open, and I was screaming with glee the whole time. No regrets.