These past few weeks have been taken up with saying our last goodbyes. We're really lucky to have a large community of people whom we love and who love us right back. Unfortunately that means that leaving for two years has been all the more difficult. But, as one of our dearest friends, Posie, said, "Be happy you have people in your life that are hard to say goodbye to." I couldn't agree more but that hasn't made any of the goodbyes easier.
Some of these wonderful friends threw us a going away party a week ago. It was so nice to see everyone under one roof but tough to spend quality time with people. Sarah's parents provided the all-important drinks and some food, Marjorie provided her house and more food, and Ted, Linna, and Posie helped with even more food. It all went off perfectly, and we even had a beautiful day for people to hang out on the deck.
Then last week, we had practically every "last" meal planned with someone. Plenty of tears were shed during the week as we faced the reality of not seeing our friends and family for two years. We were lucky enough to have an intimate Easter dinner with our closest family and friends. Dan gave a beautiful prayer, tying together the promise of safety in Passover, the idea of rebirth from Easter, and our journey. Carol cooked an amazing meal.
The highlight of our departure was the fact that Theron's brother, his wife, and both of Sarah's parents were able to see us off at the airport. The LaBountys drove to and from Mitchell, NE today, six hours round trip. We're feeling the love!
There is some consolation about leaving because of the communication possibilities of the Internet. But even if we do have 24-7 video chat, it's not going to be the same as giving Posie a call for a last minute burger night; dropping by Ted and Linna's place for Chinese Hot Pot, and playing hide and seek with Cameron and Kate; or walking over to Marjorie's house for a late night philosophical discussion. Nor will it be the same as spending time with Sarah's family.
Now we're off for one more round of goodbyes before our first round of hellos. In Philadelphia, we're meeting with our long time friends Clara, Frank, Lindsay, Miren, and Robb. They all just happen to live in Philadelphia (Except Clara who timed her vacation to Philly to coincide with us!). We are so lucky to see these awesome friends before we go. It brings tears to my eyes.
We've been reminded many times that we'll make new friends and that two years from now we'll be saying more goodbyes as we head back to the U.S. No doubt that's true, but it definitely doesn't make these goodbyes any easier. We are excited to start this journey together but leaving still sucks. Tomorrow we meet Peace Corps Romania Group 28 face to face for the first time. All of the goodbyes will be worth it worth it when we leave Romania with new friend-for-life friends.