Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Very Sad Goodbye to Antwerp

This is my last post from the Antwerp apartment, and I am so sad this day has come. We are of course looking forward to our time in Estepona, Spain (will write mid-May with the full report) but man, I never realized how truly sad I would be to leave Antwerp.

The girls' school had a big farewell party Friday afternoon. For the last hour they all played in the green courtyard, all these amazing little kids in their little uniforms, running and playing and singing songs. JieJie and MeiMei were given little flowered crowns to wear, and a class they're not even IN all drew a sheaf of pictures which were presented to JieJie, bound with a ribbon. My mom made chocolate chip cookies with Belgian chocolate chips which got extra melty and all the kids had chocolate around their smiling mouths. All the children hugged and kissed our girls goodbye, their teachers hugged them and kissed them and got teary, I got teary, my husband was close, my parents were really impressed by the whole thing, and the headmistress, who has often been very formal (though not in a not-nice way at all!) gave me the Belgian three-kisses as we left, and we both were about to cry. I'm about to cry just typing this. We promised to keep in touch and they promised to keep in touch. The one moment that really got me was when JieJie's teacher gave her and MeiMei photos of their class waving to the camera and said "these are for you so you will always think of us." I really had to get out of there at the end, because I was going to lose it, and that's not quite the thing to do so I didn't.

Man. We have gotten involved, and that means we have gotten...well, involved, you know? It feels wrong to take the girls out of such a fantastic school and such an amazing community.
I take back everything I ever said about the things I didn't like. I could live here.

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