So here’s the thing about being an expat:
You’re always saying goodbye to someone.
Oh, I knew I’d be saying goodbye to family and friends when we made the big move and again each time we returned to Luxembourg from a visit home.
But I guess I hadn’t really thought about all the goodbyes we’d be saying to the folks that we’d meet along the way. We expats are a transient breed, and in Luxembourg, where we make up more than 30% of the population, I’m learning that our ebb and flow is quite regular.
Last week I got an email from Hannah’s school saying that one of her teachers was leaving the school to return to Ireland because of her husband’s job. (School here in Europe is on a slightly different schedule than in the US where kids are just about done for the year. We still have some weeks left.)
Anyway, I felt a little sick about it.
You see, Hannah adores Mrs. B.
Mrs. B. is kind and gentle, yet no-nonsense and she really, really loves the kids.
Plus, she’s from Ireland so she has the most beautiful accent.
(And she calls the hallway a corridor.)
(And she always laughs when Hannah calls it a cordial.)
I didn’t say anything to Hannah about the email over the weekend.
When we got to school on Monday, Mrs. B. said that she would be talking to the kids so on Tuesday evening I danced around it and asked unspecific, non-leading questions to see what Hannah knew and how she was feeling about it.
”Mrs. B. is going back to the country she’s from but we’re not going to be sad about it,” she told me.
”What country is she from?”
Africa. Ireland. We’ll work on geography later.
Later on she told Shawn, “Mrs. B. is going back to…Mom, what country is she from?”
”She’s from Ireland.”
”Mrs. B. is going back to The Island, Dad.”
We’re all going to miss Mrs. B. She sat with Hannah at snack time when she didn’t know any other kids, was always happy to run back to the classroom to fetch her forgotten library book, and made sure she changed into dry socks when coming in from rainy days on the playground.
Mrs. B. – Thank you, thank you, thank you for making school something that Hannah loves.