saying goodbye

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sunset at Piata Unirii

And just like that: my Fulbright in Romania is over.  I’m now a former Fulbright Scholar; I’m a former citizen of Cluj; I’m a former professor in the Faculty of Letters at Babes-Bolyai University; I’m a former temporary resident of Romania.  When I step off the plane at Dulles, I’ll be back on home soil.

I really don’t know what I think about that.

I’m leaving in a whirlwind of packing, goodbyes, errands.  A more leisurely exit would have been preferable but, somehow, I couldn’t convince myself it was actually time to go. It seems unreal that the past nine months passed so quickly, even as full as those months have been.  If I didn’t have things pulling me back to the States, I would have happily stayed for another year.

But goodbyes come, whether you want them or not. I don’t like goodbyes, as it happens; I hate the displacement of people and places that have become embedded in your life, the finality that a “goodbye” connotes over a “see you later,” even if we know that they mean the same thing.

So, I’ve been saying my goodbyes: to the faculty that welcomed me back in September, to my good-natured and kindly calm department head, to a local teacher who became a friend over our lunches discussing teaching and learning. To my quirky, entertaining, sharp students who wanted to celebrate our mutual survival in person.

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some of my spirited American Culture & Civilization students

To the cathedral-dominated main square that offered the comfortingly beautiful first impression of the city all those months ago. To the building that somehow managed to both welcome me at 8am on frosty winter mornings and confuse the hell out of me with its Escher-like hallways.

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the Faculty of Letters entrance

To my movie companion and good-natured Fulbright friend.  To my partner-in-travel, sometime roommate, always entertaining Wonder Twin.