Sunday, May 29, 2011

I don't know why you say "goodbye" (I say "hello")

There’s a certain danger in writing while tired—you tend to ramble and lose your inhibitions. But you write anyway.

This has been a whirlwind, fatiguing two months since the last post.  During that time, it's been a dizzying succession of concerts, end-of-term class preparations, grading finals, and generally considering the import of these past 24 years of teaching at Georgia Southern.  It’s easy to be introspective when cleaning out your office for the last time, watching a living, breathing space revert into its original four bare walls (and knowing that—very soon—it will take on a different life for a new inhabitant).

Parallel with this, however, is the world that over 40 of us are about to enter.  Peace Corps pre-service training is imminent: our path to Armenia will be accomplished by next weekend. If it’s really true that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” then its opposite—my personal road to 27 months of exploration and experience—is paved with my pursuit of random bits of introductory Armenian phrases, a growing recognition of most of this new and fascinating alphabet, and acquaintanceship with a variety of historical and cultural references.  I am under no illusions as to what I've actually learned thus far: this relatively tiny amount  can’t possibly compare to that which we're intended to absorb during these next three months of daily training and related experiences.

Returning to the present: I am pretty much overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends, colleagues, and students (and these are by no means mutually exclusive).  These past weeks have seen a steady parade of “good-bye” dinners, receptions, concerts, and media commentary—roughly like being a spectator at your own funeral.  Yet every “good-bye” was special, since it contained the seeds of excitement for this new and worthwhile endeavor—and, frankly, I can’t wait to get started!

P.S.: As I write this, a whole new group of our undergraduate students is on the threshold of experiencing its first overseas study/performance tour.  Closer to home, students—and organizations—are pondering the consequences of prior actions and decisions.  And in the midst of all this, my “good-byes” start becoming “hellos” two days from now.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Dr. Braz! It was a joy to learn from you. I wish you well on this new endeavor! ~Gigi Kerr Naeve