I take it in but don’t look down
On the day before my departure, I ran into a colleague/friend that I had enjoyed working with immensely. I shook his hand and expressed my gratitude for the time we had worked together. He was caught off guard. Only my closest friends knew that I would be leaving Germany before the final staff barbecue. With surprise in his voice, and in his expression, Sam asked if I had been emotional the last few days. Thankfully, I was confidentially able to reply that I had not been.
Sam’s question was very reasonable. Leaving for good meant far more work than you would probably imagine. It meant: seemingly endless paperwork, cleaning out my classroom for good, passing materials on to the next teacher, staff work days, cleaning out my apartment for inspection, getting a power of attorney, making arrangements to pay off bills, packing, shipping what would not fit in my luggage, and de-registering from city hall. This all happened within the last week of school and graduation. Doing all of these things in the midst of saying goodbye to students, families, and close friends would have been enough to break anyone.
God provided more than I needed. Emotional stability, mental stability, physical strength, health, finances, and the hours needed to complete everything. It truly was a miracle that I was able to say goodbye well, in the midst of so much activity.
Those last few weeks were such a whirlwind that I didn’t have much time to journal/blog about it. In an effort to close my Black Forest Academy chapter well, I would like summarize my last few weeks. Let’s call this a Facebook recap.
Due to my yearbook deadline being pushed back, I was able to attend the senior tea with my small group girls. I had more work than I could handle earlier that week, but finishing early meant that I could enjoy tea with these beautiful ladies.
I enjoyed my last Junior-Senior Banquet as a traveling photographer. I’m normally working the photo booth. It was nice to have more time to visit with students and friends throughout the night.
A friend of mine caught me working late at school. I stayed up late, the day after JSB, finishing the final yearbook pages. Those pages were ftp’d to the printer. After that, I was done with my last yearbook project.
30 teenagers, 8 staff members, 6 hours of filming, 5 cameras, and 1 large crane. Add 15 to 20 hours of editing and you’ve got my favorite video project of all time. This music video was used to allude to our yearbook theme and to announce the yearbook pre-sale. All together, it was just a lot of fun. Click here if you haven’t seen the video: http://vimeo.com/96807779
My birthday competes with end of the school year activities every year. This year, I simply asked friends to join me for a picnic by the Rhine. We were given a beautiful day, as you can see. The 2 hours that we spent at a local spa, for free (!), was the perfect way to spend the rest of the day.
The staff barbecue, at the end of the year, is where most people say goodbye to each other. I had very little time to say goodbye to all of the people that have meant so much to me. I was glad to have a meal with these good friends.
Staff dinner is an evening of mixed emotions. The BFA personnel department takes the time to thank all of the staff with great food and a couple gifts. They also take a few moments to bring all of the departing staff on stage to say nice things about their service at BFA. I am happy to report that I made it without tears and without doing anything goofy, like falling off of the stage. I’m just surprised by the lack of sarcasm and snarky comments.
One last camping trip. For three years, a small group of us have trekked to Sausenburg castle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausenburg_Castle) to camp for an evening. The first trip was quite epic. It rained the whole time. So, we cuddled up in a crevice of the castle wall. The next time we camped, we tried to sleep on top of the tower. We were, however, dispersed by rain and lightning. This year I hiked up early, with two of my closest friends, to see the sun set. With the sun setting over Switzerland to our left and France to our right, we spent a lovely hour together- legs hung over the side of the tower.
One of the last school events is the awards ceremony. I was excited to catch up with students who had returned to see their siblings graduate. I was beyond excited to be reunited with all of my senior editors. Three years of brilliance. These young women will do, and have done, really incredible things.
Graduation was a time for saying goodbye to so many people that have meant the world to me. Among them were Grace, Michaella, and Storch dorm girls.
Finally, one of the best parts of my last couple weeks was watching the World Cup. Seeing Deutschland kill Portugal, with many great friends, my last night in Germany was the perfect way to leave.
This box is a symbol of the end of my time at BFA. I was happy to see that it arrived, without damage, but I was sadened by the meaning.
Thank you, friends and family, for all of the support you have given me these last 3 years. I was blown away by the financial support that held out until the end of the year. I even had enough money in my account to get reimbursed for travel expenses. Thank you again. Your prayers, financial support, and encouragement have been invaluable.