Today was the last day of school.
I shed tears at the bus stop this morning, and not because I woke up with Richard Marx hair (which I did). It was my last day at the bus stop with my kids, hanging out with all the other moms (and brave dads who aren't ashamed to join in the "mom conversations" that inevitably happen), and waving as my children pulled away from the curb in their school buses.
I was coping until my friend Rachel said, "Well, this will be my last time at the bus stop." She's moving down the road to a different housing complex, so her bus stop will be different next year.
No sooner had I given her a hug than I felt the gunk rising in my throat, the tears stinging my eyes, and thought, "Oh boy, here we go."
The beginning of grief.
I looked around at all my friends -- some of my best friends in the world! I hugged a few of them and let myself cry.
My friend Kristen commented on how different people grieve. Some get it all out of the way beforehand; others, as they're saying their final goodbyes; still others, after the vehicle pulls away and friends are out of sight.... "And some," I thought, "grieve the whole time."
That's going to be me. I hope I don't fell a rain forest with all the tissues I'm going to have to use.
Thinking about grieving for my left-behind life in China started me thinking about all the things I'm going to miss :
My kids' friends
My stairs (built-in work out)
Our international fellowship (a.k.a. church)
Tianjin International School (what a great place for my kids to attend, not to mention a wonderful work environment for my husband!)
Karaoke with my friends
Chinese food delivery
Street food (especially that pork sandwich thing with the spicy green peppers)
Traveling to Hong Kong
The unpredictability of life
... and some things I won't miss so much:
Answering the same set of questions over and over and over again
Watching the poop spin in the toilet but not flush down
Piddling water pressure
My stairs (it's a love/hate relationship)
Being clothes dryerless
Having to dust every day
Permadirt on my son's knees
Being perpetually scolded by elderly, well-meaning strangers
Finding things I've looked for stuffed in strange places in my house because my ayi was "cleaning up"
The lack of breakfast cereal
... and some things I'm scared spitless about:
Forgetting all my Chinese
My children being stolen (America's a dangerous place! ... compared with China)
My children being rude and loud in restaurants
My children learning bad words in school
Being a nobody
Feel like encouraging me as I move across the ocean? I'd welcome any comments that start with, "Don't worry, Amy, it's not that bad!"