I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I've been avoiding ERHS. I felt guilty about not quite having finished up some of my packing up duties at the end of the year (thank god for good friends--Michelle), and I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that was stopping me from going back. After today, I think it was the need not to become (re)attached. I mean, I care about what happens there, but I can't let myself care too much--I'm not a faculty member anymore. And I still haven't sorted out how I feel about that.
I'm going to miss it. More than I realized. It was my first job after graduating from St. Mary's, my first teaching job, and an institution that shaped who I am today about as much as Eastern, Blair, or St. Mary's did. If you count Northeastern as part of my Roosevelt time, then probably MORE than those others. Being a teacher at Roosevelt was an integral part of my identity--and the first I'm really voluntarily giving up that I don't technically have to (like I had to graduate from the other institutions or what was the point?)
I stopped by after working at the hotline today to drop off the thank you cards I wrote for everyone and to see who was still there after 4 p.m. (I would have been if I were coming back...). Found out McNeil got principal (which is great--I was scared they'd pick someone new who sucked; Reggie's invested in Roosevelt so he'll continue to make it a good place) and that the teacher they hired to replace me bailed out in early August--and they haven't found someone else who would be qualified to take the position yet. YIKES! Poor Bill.
In some ways I'm glad I didn't see Bill or Susan--I feel like I'm abandoning them after everything they've done for me and the shame of it is a bit overwhelming. But I'm also very sad I missed them because their guidance has meant more to me than almost any other mentor/teacher/professor/boss type relationship. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude towards them and my awe for what they do. I did see Barbara, though, who I feel similarly about, and that was good, so I guess I really wish I had run into them.
I will miss Michelle the most. Her and my co-worker friends--poker buddies, Chevy's happy hour pals, bitch-festing commiseraters, pragmatic idealists, phenomenal teachers... I know she's been annoyed with me about yearbook stuff, so I was laying low a bit, but I was very glad I got to see her before I left. I hope she has a wonderful year. I hope everyone has a wonderful year, and makes me insanely jealous of how awesome it is back home at Roosevelt because I selfishly want everything about home, especially the good things, to stay exactly the same, waiting for my return.
But I know life doesn't work like that. And I won't stay the same; why should anything else?
The better part of me hopes they get on without me swimmingly. To be honest though, I want them to miss me. Not too much of course, but it's hard to feel like you're replaceable (like Jane keeps using the word "replacement" to describe me, which while technically accurate and a bit humorous in a science-fiction sounding way, is problematic--I may be assuming her teaching responsibilities and moving into her apartment, but I could never possibly replace Jane; I wouldn't even want to try--she's too unique and awesome, and hopefully I am, too!). Or, even worse, forgettable.
The hardest thing about leaving, the truth I've been avoiding by staying away from Roosevelt, is this: some of the people and places I'm leaving behind occupy a much larger portion of my heart than the hole I will leave behind in theirs... It always hurts a little to love something more than it loves you. Even if it is for the best in the end.
The impressions we leave behind, right?
I have felt sometimes, in darker scary moments that I don't like to admit to myself, that this process of leaving often feels like I'm preparing for my own death. Giving away possessions, saying goodbyes, wondering if I'll be missed. Since I'm not there yet, there is also a surreal, unimaginable quality about life in Korea that feels a bit like contemplating the afterlife.
Ok, I swear I'm completely happy to be moving and am not at all suicidal, but it's just funny, you know?
Enough of my overly reflective crap for now. I have enough melodrama in me sometimes to kill a horse and then sleep with its brother for S & G's (shits and giggles). Ugh. Maybe it was too much Dr. Phil at the hotline. Who knows?