Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbyes are hard

Last night I pulled a sheet over myself instead of turning on the air conditioner. Last week I noticed that the angle of the shadows has shifted on the balcony, and the days are perceptibly shorter. The mornings are cool before the sun gets high. The arc of the sun across the sky is lower; it's only a few weeks until the Equinox.

Yesterday I packed up and mailed the first of about five boxes to books plus a few odds and ends to Colombia. All of a sudden it felt real - that we are leaving in a few short days. I almost started crying in a souvenir shop, and then I did start crying while watching Shpresa play with Gabriel.

By far the hardest part of leaving Albania, for me, is saying goodbye to Shpresa. Sure, I'll miss the ubiquity of local fresh fruits and vegetables, macchiato e gjate, roasted eggplant in everything (pizza! quesadillas!), learning Albanian; I'll miss Fun Cafe and the lake. I'll miss walking everywhere and the delicious range of fruit juices available. And I'll miss some of the women from church. But Shpresa has been like a sister to me, more than a friend. Her affection and care for our children has gone far beyond that of a paid employee.

I think part of it is just not knowing if or when we'll be able to come back, thinking of how much the kids will have changed if/when we do, wondering if Gabriel will remember her. She's almost like a second mom to him right now. She gave him his first "solid" food, she was there when he started walking. He talks to her in Albanian.

"It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," right? I know our lives are richer for having shared them with her, and I hope she can say the same about us.


Anita said...

You found a gem. Are Albanians in general caring and genuine people?

Anonymous said...

It must have been hard. It will be hard on her I bet too. I felt the same when I left Texas and I still feel like my heart sinks to my stomach when I think about the people that I met there...I do miss them but I also am so grateful for having the chance to have known them, for the experience, for the memories, for the change that happened in me because of them...