I've had an interesting few days. I got an email from the Directrice of V School with some news. One was that they apparently sent me a package of drawings the kids made for me that I never received, which was really disappointing. I have received similar packages from my other schools, in addition to all the drawings the kids made for me while I was there, and I treasure all of them. I hate La Poste!
She also said that they are going to have an American assistant this year. Last year they had a local person teaching English, not an assistant, so the position still belonged to me, in a way. I was devastated when I read it. I wanted to curl up on my bed in a ball and cry. It's the final nail in the coffin of the experience I had in France for two years - it's really over. Someone else has my position now and she'll be the American assistant. All the kids will run to give her bisous when she walks into the school yard, she'll get to chitchat with the other teachers at recess, she'll shop at Monoprix and my bakery. Someone else really will be living my French life. MY French life. They are MY schools, MY students, MY coworkers, MY friends!
I was really feeling lousy, so I had a little discussion with myself (we're pretty good friends, me myself and I). I had a good time in France, but that isn't my life right now, and I'll never be able to have that exact same life again. Even if I get back to France someday it's extremely unlikely that I'll be an assistant in that same town and working in the same schools. It was great while I was doing it, but it's over now. Not on pause, over. On the positive side, I'm still in contact with a lot of my coworkers and those are friendships that will last a long time. They won't like me any less just because there's a new American in town. The kids obviously still remember me, and I can keep buying their love by sending them more packages of candy. I'll always have the memories of my time there, but I have to redefine my relationship to this place that means so much to me.
It's been very hard for me to let go of my time in France, harder than for most people because my situation changed so drastically once I got back to the US. I was yearning for a time when my life wasn't dictated by treatments and doctor's visits, I was independent, blah blah blah, I've written about this before. I think I'm okay now with another American taking my spot. I've come to terms with the fact that I won't be able to get back a life that was over a year ago. I can't get back the past. All I can do is work on the future.
And in my future I foresee a trip to France! Like I've said before, probably after the New Year, maybe April-ish? I should start planning now if I'm serious about going!