It is difficult to believe that this is my last week in Annecy, France. It would be an understatement to say that these eight weeks have flown by. There are just not enough hours, days, or weeks to visit all the restaurants, patisseries, nearby towns, museums, etc. In particular, these final couple of weeks have been packed with picnics, dinners, walks, biking tours and hang-outs with my new friends from school. I just cannot spend enough time with them.
On the other hand, it feels like I have been here for many, many months. These friendships developed and deepened so quickly that I forget I have only known them for less than two months. Each week (or just about) I have attended a farewell party for a student leaving IFALPES, and no matter how little I have known the person, it is always a bit sad to see a fellow comrade leave. When I worked for Global Ministries, I had a similar feeling when I said goodbye to the volunteers and missionaries that I had just trained after only spending a week (or more) with them.
The immediciacy in which humans can bond with each other amazes me. It speaks volumes of the needs of the human condition. Look at how quickly one establishes a rhythm, a pattern of normalcy when entering a new culture or way of life. As students, our shared experiences helped form small communities to which we all cling to as a life-raft at some point.
We all desperately need each other. I have seen this need manifest time and time again across racial, age, linguistic, cultural, and national lines. With that mindset, it’s nice to know that we all have that in common, and at least for me, it makes meeting new people just a bit easier.
So in a few days I will share my farewell dinner with two new friends (these lovely ladies on the left, below) who are leaving at the same time as me to go back to their home countries. Even though we will see each other the next day for the last day of class, the farewell dinner will be a sentimental yet fun evening of celebrating and enjoying new friendships- exactly as life intended.