Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mein Letzter Schultag

Today, was the worst day of my life in Germany. I’m not trying to be all dramatic and weird, but at the same time, I AM trying to be dramatic and weird. Now, just so you know, I have had many bad days, many days here that weren’t up to par, where I felt stupid and out of place, but today, today topped them all. It wasn’t bad because I did something embarrassing; I didn’t feel stupid or out of place, I just felt sad. Today was my last day of school; my last day of seeing any of the children I have often referred to as my kids. I’d like to iterate that this sadness was ‘the good kind of sadness,’ the kind where you enjoy something or someone so much that when you know they won’t be around, you feel sad. I never really saw the end coming, I just ignored it really, hoping time might stop. So today, the last day of school, crept up on me like a wild boar. I spent the day with the 5th class, because I had no lessons, the sixth class wasn’t around, and the 5th class are some of my best friends in Germany. In the third period they did Zeugnis hand outs. A Zeugnis is a report card. Then, at the end, they called me to the front of the class and the kids gave me cards they had made me, and of course shook my hands. I will disclaim this next part with the fact that I often guard my emotions and don’t cry often, but for whatever reason the official goodbye to these kids brought tears to my eyes. Okay, so that was a bit embarrassing because all the parents were there, but maybe they thought it was sweet that I cared. I think a lot of it was that I have spent the year telling myself that I am not much to these kids, something interesting ‘oh look, another American come to teach us English.’ I always kept the fear that I meant nothing to these kids, that I was just a temporary thing. For whatever reason, the cards made me think otherwise. As for the crying, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I cannot express how much the class meant to me in words. In German I tend to shy away from saying things that express affection, because I worry that if it is taken the wrong way I won’t be able to defend myself, or mostly I just worry that in German culture you just don’t say those things. Plus you can’t really tell 5th graders anything that serious. And by you there I mean me, because I tend to joke with the children more than anything else. Whatever the reason, I don’t regret doing it, so don’t even think about leaving ‘cry baby’ comments, because they won’t hurt my feelings at all. To quote a recent book I read: ‘You’re not really a man until you have truly loved a child, and you’re not a good man until that child loves you.’
Anyway, after my cry baby fest we went outside to the official school closing ceremony. There I felt like a star because as I was called to the front, all the kids stretched out their hands for a high five like I had just hit a homerun at the end of the World Series. It was a great feeling, but also sad as some of the kids realized I was leaving. One particular girl asked me to give her five about a million times, after each one looking sad and saying ‘noch mal.’ The teachers gave me a nice picture map book of Germany, and a Jüterbog DVD. It was very nice. After that it was a mass of goodbyes, and sad faces. I stayed positive; playing with the kids like it was just another day, until the buses came. I waved one final time and then went into the teacher’s lounge one last time. Finally I took a final whiff of good old Blönsdorf air and started saying goodbye to the teachers. It was also very sad to do. Like I said, today was my worst day ever in Germany, the day I realized I have to leave all the things that took so long to get used to.


At 11:51 PM GMT+2, Blogger Maria said...

aw, goodbyes are sad. I am sure I will cry saying goodbye to my kids the day I finally leave Americana.

Enjoy your vacation, and one more thing...

cry baby!!



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