Aside from Board Game Club, I spent most of Wednesday moping in post-travel blues and derping around to pass the time until 6:20, when S picked me up to take me to F’s for my farewell party. Eight out of ten of Claudel’s English teachers (I, M-L, Mg, Jt, K, and Ak) attended, and the gathering mostly consisted of conversation, laughter, and music. At one point, F’s and K’s daughters even came downstairs to listen to and laugh at the teachers who were enthusiastically singing.
We devoured little appetizers—mini-quiches, pastry things with cheese, mini-sausage rolls and radishes—and then had different kinds of cake—pineapple, orange, and chocolate—as well as mint chocolate…and all of that food ended up becoming my dinner. A few of my colleagues finally peer-pressured me into trying a delicious champagne that was probably quite dangerous, because it didn’t taste like alcohol one bit, more like ginger ale, and I absolutely would have kept drinking it if the bottle hadn’t already been emptied.
My colleagues presented me with two different gifts, making me open the package and envelope in front of them. The package turned out to be two books in French and one small history of protesting, to encourage me to keep being politically active, and the envelope contained a USB drive with 29 essential French songs, from 1947 to 2016, which I’m pretty sure is the result of me telling F that school never really teaches us about French music. (I still cannot believe that they included Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”)
They also gave me a card signed by 8/10 of them, and K’s daughter gave me the cutest present—I love kids’ art, even if it doesn’t entirely make sense.
Much to my alarm, M-L and someone else started chanting, “Discours! Discours!” (Speech! Speech!”) but luckily Mg came to my rescue, saying, “Arrête de la traumatisée!” (Stop traumatizing her!).
But, as I sit here and listen to the playlist they created for me, I’ll go ahead and write my speech here, even if chances are none of them will ever read it: Thank you. I genuinely enjoyed my time at Claudel, and I’m fortunate that I got to work with such understanding, lovely people, especially given my circumstances. I’m sorry if I came across as quiet and withdrawn, but that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me—I’ve always been more of a listener than a talker. And as much as I missed being able to see the sun on a regular basis, in the end, I’m glad that I got to work with you all.