Thursday, August 5, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I'm a flake. It's true. During my time in Italy my mind swung like a pendulum between wanting to be at home and being completely content staying with the family for weeks more. And try as I might, I could not hold it in one spot and keep it from swinging back and forth. However, my last week with the family, I had no problems keeping my heart there.

As I spent my last days and hours with the family I took in every detail that came with living with them. My mind soaked in every mannerism, every quirk as the realization of my departure became more tactile to me. The amused glances Monica and I exchanged when Igor did something funny or ridiculous became like gold. Seeing Margherita dance brought me more joy than usual, and I made sure that in the last few days we played music and danced together a lot. Giuseppe's clever comments made me smile more than usual as I saw his quick wit developing.

The children began to ask me questions about why I had to go, and if I was coming back. They didn't understand, especially Marghe. Monica tells me that she asks everyday when I am coming back. Giuseppe's true nature came out as he suddenly switched from the Italian demon child to the sweet 5 year old I knew he could be. My last week there he listened like a dream, and even went as far as saying nice things to me. One of the last afternoons I spent with him we were sitting on my bed talking, and out of nowhere he tells me: "Alysha, I really dislike that you have to go. Can't you stay more with us?" Once I picked my jaw up the floor I tried to explain that I have family, friends, and school to return to. He didn't buy it.

I started saying my first goodbyes the day before I was to leave (Wednesday). Monica's parents came over to say goodbye to me, and when she hugged me goodbye the grandmother alm
ost started crying. Next was Marina, the woman who cleaned the house three times a week. It was with her I had my first official conversation in Italian, and she encouraged me so much when Giuseppe was being impossible. Next was my friend Mary, and Irish au pair that I had just gotten to know a couple weeks before. But our similar situations made us fast friends. We went to the upper city, split a pizza, and laughed so hard that the other tables turned to look at us with amused faces.

Wednesday night I was to say goodbye to the children because I was leaving early the next day. While they didn't understand what exactly was happening, they did understand that something was up. They came to my room, sat on my bed like usual and we all talked and had fun. We talked about how I was going home, and why. Monica came in to chat as well and told them they needed to say goodbye. First Giuseppe came up to me, gave me a big hug, and kissed me on my cheek. Then came Marghe, following suit. She asked if she could sleep in my room with me but she had to get up early the next day and I still had more to pack. They filed out of my room to their beds, Giuseppe with his slow gait and Marghe with her little girl waddle. I felt my throat tighten in an attempt to keep the hot tears at bay. I could cry later if I needed. Right then I had to keep it together and focus.

I said goodnight to Monica and we looked at each other with the full weight of the situation on pulling at us. I was going to miss her. Over the past three months she had become a good friend and like and aunt to me. She told me multiple times that I am family now, that me leaving was going to be hard for her.

I went to my bedroom, finished packing, and and got ready for bed. The next morning Monica got up early to see me off. Igor was to take me to the train station so I could get to the correct airport that was an hour away. She came in my room to find me sitting on my bed, looking dejectedly at my packed bags. I offered a half hearted smile and she came over to hug me. Fact: If I am ever close to tears, hugging me somehow immediately leaves me incapable of holding them back. She walked out, and I pulled my stuff to the living room to take it to the car. We hugged one last time, exchanged thank you's and goodbyes, and that was it. Igor took me to the station, and we chatted on the way, both trying to ignore the gravity of this car ride. He dropped me off, walked me as far as he possibly could go, and told me that we all will be in contact. He left and I held my luggage close as I waited for the train.

While I was not glad to say goodbbye to them I was glad to get it over with. I hate goodbyes. I'm no good at them and they don't feel nice to put it simply. But when I decided to be a nanny I knew that a goodbye would be a part of the process.

I will be in touch with this family forever. I can't imagine not knowing them yet three months ago I knew almost nothing about them. I remember praying that God would bless my relationship with the family and that we would be close. He answered that prayer in so many ways. I will be truthful and say that yes, I do miss the family very much. I have refrained from looking at pictures from my trip because I know it will make my heart ache. But it's not the end of my time with them, we will just adjust how we communicate. Praise God for technology.

This experience changed me and taught me about myself in many ways. But above everything else, the memories of my time with the family are among my most precious belongings. So as I start the new chapter of this school year, I go with a new friendship with four people that I will never forget.

Peace in Christ

1 comment:

  1. alysha, your heart and your life are beautiful just like you. i love hearing of your adventures and your italian family. - this is from barbara and that's my brother's google account apparently.