It's weird. I am not really feeling that I am saying goodbye -- more like I am going on vacation-- though it is quite likely that I won't see my friends and their children for two or three years (if not more). When we're in China, we'll be traveling home to Holland, we also have family in Brasil, and we'll also want to travel in the region, which makes it hard to know when I would have time to come back to the US. Today I said goodbye to a couple children who have been among Thomas' and Simon's best friends for a long time. Simon has had one great friend since he was two months old. Her mom and I would hang out together, and as the babies started crawling they were playing together. I think I can stay in touch with my friends and bridge the gap till when we will live in the same place again, but their kids will be growing up without knowing much about us. I know this is simply what's life is all about: If you move around and see more of the world, it also means that you leave some special people and places behind. (After all, I've done this before when I left Holland). But during my last move there weren's so many kids involved, and I am finding that that makes it a bit different.
On a more positive note: Today at the Church, the congregation wished us well. And -- by their own admission -- embarrassed us by singing a song. You can sing along on the tune of "Leaving on a Jet Plane":
Their bags are packed
They're ready to go
The kids have got
their things in tow
Soon they're gonna walk right out that door.
But they'll have to wait until we sing
"Remember us when you're in Beijing"
Anna, Paul, we'll miss you to our core.
So write us and let us know
Where you live and where you go
When you can't unpack another box.
You're heaving every suitcase
To fill your oriental place
With books and bikes and blocks.
Simon's birth in 2003
Added much to the nursery
He and Thomas lived here all their days.
Now they'll learn a lot in a whole new land
The World Bank job is sure to expand
The boys' ability to be amazed.
So good luck and bon voyage
The Procees are living large
We accept it's hard for us to part.
But Anna, Paul and Simon
And Thomas - Keep on climbing!
We cheer your brand new start.