SOCIAL MEDIA

12 June 2015

Leaving Well

Last July, we said goodbye to Michigan.

Now I'm finding myself on the other side of the world, but facing similar feelings. With only 10.5 months here, we don't have nearly the history in ShenZhen that we did in Michigan, but that doesn't seem to be making it all that much easier to smile through the goodbyes.

I've been thinking lately about the importance of the manner in which we approach leaving. My life seems to involve a lot of leaving, and, if I have to do it, I want to make sure I do it well.

There's a sneaky little part of me which would like to simply not mention to our students or neighbors that we're leaving permanently...to let them just assume that we'll be back when school holiday is over. I could probably almost trick myself into viewing our upcoming plane trip as just that, a trip. Maybe, if we didn't tell anyone, they'd get used to our absence before they even realized its permanence and this would be much easier on everyone.

But a larger part of me is convinced that that's not a good way to take our leave. Giving out bad news isn't something I, or anyone, likes to do--but the people we've done life with here deserve fair warning.


Giving notice of our impending departure sure isn't the easy way out. It means we've been constantly bombarded with goodbye gifts and requests for photos and ways to contact us in the future. The schedule leading up to our departure is filled with myriad last suppers and each goodbye feels like it's tearing at only recently healed holes in my heart. We're trying to walk the fine line where we give thank you cards and goodbye gifts to the friends who have made life possible here, while insisting that they not run out shopping for us since our possessions are limited to what will fit within our luggage allotment.


My mom always said that it's the respectful children who cry for their parents whenever they're left in daycare, as it shows loyalty to mom and dad. If that's true, our students are respectful to the utmost, as all of our announcements of our upcoming departure are met with groans and whys and please stays. It's irresistibly endearing when a usually cool, quiet 16-year-old jumps out of their seat to shout, "We will miss you!" as you walk out the door after teaching your last class.

And they expect me not to break out into unprofessional tears in the hallway?

We're telling our friends here it's just a short plane trip to visit us in our new home--and they're, in turn, reminding us that it's just a short trip back to ShenZhen.

I'm so excited about our future. We have thrilling things to look forward to. But I believe that leaving well means that some mourning is acceptable and needful, even when, deep down, you're happy about where you're going. 

I have no idea if or when we'll be back in China, but I'm so very glad we went.

27 comments :

  1. The just quietly disappearing method would probably be easier, but I don't think it'd be much good in the long run. Goodbyes are hard, but better said than never getting the chance! Leaving well does seem like a challenge, especially since you've already had a whole lot when you left Michigan... but your outlook is inspiring :)

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  2. I totally hear you that goodbyes are so hard. Exactly one year ago, I left a job and some coworkers that I had loved for years, with no idea what was next. I think for me, there's always a little fear in the goodbye. But I am so excited for your new adventure! Best of luck with your move!

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  3. Ohh I hate saying goodbye to people, it's so hard! But I agree that you are doing it the right way rather than just disappearing. It's so bittersweet to leave one chapter and start another!

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  4. I had the same small indecision as to whether or not tell my students that I wasn't coming back the next year. But, I decided they deserved to know why since if I was staying, I'd be teaching them again next year.

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  5. You have me in tears! I'm an emotional creature, and I'm also a woman who knows the hurt of good-byes. I think it is rather lovely that you and your husband have touched so many hearts in such little time- that says a great deal about the wonderful people you are.
    ::Big Hugs::

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  6. Awww "Mr.Angle"! It is rough but so much better for everyone to have closure.

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  7. This post makes me want to cry with you. I absolutely identify with mourning a good bye. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

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  8. Moving away is always hard. I think you'd regret not saying goodbye, though goodbyes are so so incredibly hard. Hugs!

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  9. Awww, this is so sweet! Wishing you the best not only in your future plans, but in the hard days ahead saying goodbyes to everyone!

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  10. Goodbyes are tough, dude! I too have said goodbye more times than I can count. You know, my mom (of course) always tells me I should write a book about the places I've seen and people I've met. I don't know how I could possibly fit it all but maybe starting with goodbyes would be a reasonable point of entry? Like "The Fifteen Goodbyes" or something like that? It'd be interesting. And if you want to swipe the idea I would totally read your book! Hahah!

    Best wishes as you say tally-ho and move on to your next adventure. Excited to join you via blog posts!! :)

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  11. I really hate saying good bye! I know just how you feel!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  12. It's been hell of a ride for you guys and I can only envy your adventures. It must be painful, but heartwarming and marvelous to have so many people in your life who would be truly sad when you leave them. I wish you all the best and lots of new friends with your new adventures! ^_^

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  13. I haven't been around your blog for a long time. Where are you off to next? It is definitely the best to prepare people for your permanent goodbye rather than to lull them into false hope. So I'm glad that you decided to tell everyone about your departure. Well for every leaving, there is an arriving so you still bring hellos, welcomes and light to the place of arrival.

    Jo
    Jo's Jumbled Jardinière

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  14. What a lovely post. I have had a few 'goodbyes' in my life and while they are difficult, they are an important part of the transition to a new part of your life. Enjoy your goodbyes just as much as you enjoyed the 'hellos' when you arrived.

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  15. Aww I can imagine how deep and heartfelt the goodbyes are and will be until your final departure.. At least you know you can visit if and when you're able to. Luckily, thanks to social media remaining in contact with those around us is easier than it has ever been. I think the true test of a friendship/bond is being apart or in disconnect; if someone really cares enough about your status they'll reach out - if they don't then you know. Best of luck with your transition! Have a great one Rachel! -Iva

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  16. Goodbyes are difficult but that just means there is another adventure right around the corner : )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  17. right you are about 'leaving well' and it sounds like you've been surrounded by such amazing people with your time in shenzhen! you obviously left an impact on the students too, that's pretty powerful :) safe journeys onto your next adventure!

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  18. I agree. Right after I taught my last class, I cried in front of the students (and some of them cried!). This year has just been so wonderful and I couldn't have asked for anything better! (cheesy moment... not done yet! haha).

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  19. Goodness...this brings me to tears! I hate goodbyes but agree with leaving well. I think you would regret leaving any other way! Praying you have a smooth transition!

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  20. I don't think I could handle it, I hate goodbyes! It has to be so hard to grow to love a place and then to have to up and leave it so quickly.

    Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird

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  21. Oh my word, how time flies! I remember with stark clarity when you guys left for Asia and can hardly believe that your trip is coming to an end. What an incredible experience this time has been for you. I've loved every single post that you've shared with us about your days and months in China and eagerly look forward - as I'm sure you do - to seeing what life holds in store for you and Angel next.

    Big hugs & safe travels,
    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your wonderfully nice comment on yesterday's vintae outfit post.

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  22. I love notes from kids. They are so creative. The fonts they come up with are the best! I'm sure you'll be keeping those. Keep them!

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  23. Bittersweet for sure!! I was always the kid that cried when my parents left, but I also cried at the end of the year leaving my teachers too. :)

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  24. It sounds like you and Angel are very well liked by your students. It's a good thing when people are sad to see you go, but I'm sure it must be hard as well. All the best in your move!

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  25. Wow I've got a lot of catching up to do! Time sure flies! Goodbyes are hard! It will be awesome to read about your next adventure!

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