There is something inherently sad (in my opinion) about taking posters down off the walls. This week marked the last days of class at school. Students took their last final exams yesterday. There will be two graduation ceremonies, and time in our classrooms to make ready for the summer, and then we’ll be done. And we’ll go.
I’m sitting in my classroom, staring at empty, bare walls. The room looks shabbier without the student work and the posters and the quotes brightening up the space. And emptier. It feels empty in here, and I don’t like it. After several long weeks of students bouncing off the walls (sometimes literally) and me leaving school exhausted after the effort of keeping them on task, today, I miss them already.
I would like, right now, to hear shouts of “Valla pupii!” (whatever that means) and “u mad bro?” and “Qué ready!” I wouldn’t even mind supervising a rambunctious play fight or two. I already miss their laughter, their energy, their enthusiasm for life.
There was a time when I actually liked packing. Packing used to signify I was going on a vacation, and I liked planning what I would need and making the most of the space in my suitcase. Packing was easy and fun when I was a little kid. It’s not so fun now. Now, more often than not, packing signifies ending one chapter of life and moving on to another. It involves deciding what is important enough to accompany me and what gets left behind or tossed in the trash. Suddenly cleaning out my desk at school seems a decidedly unsavory task.
Part of me wants to scream, “But I don’t want to go!” I feel, these days, like I’m mentally scrabbling at the rocky soil of a cliff with my fingernails, striving for purchase, trying to stay where I am. But I’m simply being lifted away, not able to hold on. It’s time for this part of my life to be over, and my time in Puerto Rico and at my school is coming to an end. I know, in the logical part of my brain, that I will probably find beauty, and fulfillment, and joy in my next location, and that two years from now, I’ll be reluctant to leave a different school and different students. But unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t make it much easier for me to get through the end of this year, right now.