The nature of working abroad in an international school is much like being an international student abroad: when you start, everything is new, exciting and fresh. It takes a little to settle in and you cling to your fellow newbies like a life vest because it feels like you’re in open water. You spend the first few months comparing everything to things “back home”.
If you can afford a ticket home, you visit for the holiday break and share about all your exciting experiences. Each year, as time goes by, you meet more people in different classes and you form close bonds with some. And then, they graduate. Or you graduate. Or you graduate together and now the ropes that bound you together, slowly unravel as you go along your separate paths. You keep in touch occasionally. You share memes and videos. You wish each other happy birthday. Sometimes it becomes more. You travel together, stand in each other’s weddings, plan the baby showers of the other.
Several of my colleagues whom I have grown close to in this past year are leaving my school. I’m happy for them because they’re leaving for better jobs, which is great. I’m sad because although I know this is all temporary, they are the closest things to family way out here. They visited me after my short hospital visit. We’ve showered by each other or “borrowed” water when our tanks were empty. We’ve complained about the system over gin and tonics. We’ve celebrated birthdays together and did our visa runs together.
It’s the life we live as expats in international schools. One day our contract ends, and we decide to move on. Some people decide that this country (wherever this is) has become their new home and stay, while they watch the cycles of teachers come and go. I know that Myanmar is temporary for me and one day I too, will leave.
I’m probably being low-key super dramatic but I don’t care… They’re not even leaving Myanmar! They’re just moving to different schools! 🙂 Not the point. Transitions bring about sweet sorrow, and as I like to quote,
Happiness is an interval between two sorrows.Some guy at a leadership training at COB/UB back in 2006.