I sit this morning on my bed and feel quite numb. I am still trying to come to terms with the reality that I will have to leave you once again in a matter of days. I begin my task of sorting documents with half-hearted interest, deciding which papers are far too important to simply cast aside in a recycling bin.
The original copy of my work contract? Keep it.
Pay stubs? Keep them.
Older editions of newspapers that caught my interest? Place one in the pile, toss the others on the floor. The floor shall be my temporary garbage can.
I open some folders that have holding more documents hostage. I know that they have to be emptied. I come across my OFII and MGEN papers. I need to sort those as well.
Keep. Keep. Toss. Keep. Toss. Toss. Toss.
I soon have five piles of paper resting on my bed. Original documents, pay stubs, CAF, OFII/MGEN and second thoughts.
Second thoughts? Why would I need to give trash a second thought?
Why can't I just throw away the violet Teaching Assistant handbook that was given to me back in October? What about the letter that joyfully welcomed me to a new job? Train tickets and city maps that remind me of all the places I've been to? The stubs to the shows and events that I've attended?
In some manner, I just feel that it is unfair to throw those away. Perhaps its some desperate way for me to deny that the past is behind me and that's how it should be. Perhaps I just wish to live a little longer in my sheltered reverie of being an independant young woman in France. Perhaps I just can't come to grips with the fact that I really am going to leave...
In my messy room, I try to repress angry thoughts of packing two years' worth of belongings into one suitcase. My scarves, my dresses, my shoes, my music, my books...
My books! What will become of them? I cannot possibly take them all with me. They alone weigh 17,8 kilos. That's 39 pounds. I'll have to leave some behind. I can't go on with them. This is starting to resemble more like a shipwreck than a move. I won't have enough weight left in my suitcase to bring back a couple of bottles of wine or chocolate.
I feel a sudden sting burn in the back of my eyes and my throat starts to dry out. I've experienced this before.
No. I refuse to cry. I can't cave in now. I can't start crying now.
I need a brief distraction. I gaze out my window and just stare at your lovely blue skies and feel a crisp breeze seep into my home. The sunlight kisses each emerald leaf on the cherry tree and I see its crimson fruit dotting the steady branches. It just stuns me to think that just a few months before, there was a blanket of freshly-fallen snow covering this tree's naked frame. The view from my window has altered so much within two years. The insouciant chirp of a bird echoes in the silence. Summer will soon be here.
Dijon, for the past two years, you welcomed me and tolerated the burgeoning French wannabe that I am at heart.
Thanks to you, I have had a taste of what an idealized adult-life should be. I had a job teaching some rowdy good-humored teenagers and worked alongside some of the most wonderful and kind-hearted teachers. I've met the most amazing group of teaching assistants that Burgundy has possibly ever had. The friends I've made...
I did not wish to say good-bye to any of them, nor do I wish to bid you farewell.
"Don't worry. You'll be back eventually. You are meant to be here," so said my friend Florence.
A part of me truly believes her. That gut-feeling part.
Dijon, je t'aime. The distance can't diminish the fervent love I have for you. I'll eventually come back to you.
But, right now, I need to keep sorting my documents. Toss, keep, keep, toss, keep.
Barb the French Bean
Monday, May 30, 2011