Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Today would be my final encounter at Myriam's school, teaching her and Vincent's classes one last time. It certainly was a morning of surprises. When all the kids filed in after recess mid-morning, they were guided to sit in the large foyer area. With all 130 of them crowded in there, it made quite the scene. Vincent then invited me forward and proceeded to conduct the kids in a rambunctious rendition of Fire’s Burning, a campfire tune he had researched and was convinced was a well-known song from Canada. Unfortunately for me, while I recognized the melody, I did not know the lyrics. Have any of you heard it before? Am I the only one born in the sticks? Regardless, I was touched he had thought to do that and seeing the kids perform for me was really something. A couple of them then presented me with a gift from a few of the parents, who wanted to thank me for my recent contributions to the school. It was a very thoughtful gift of several foods from the area (duck terrine, bergamot candies, canned mirabelles, mirabelle jam, etc.). Following the tradition I had taught them, I received many hugs as they dispersed. At the end of the morning, before school broke for their usual two week October vacation (happy smiles abounded), the teachers gathered me in their staff room and thanked me with yet another gift. I made my goodbyes, and with some disappointment, departed for Emmaus. That, too, was bittersweet as I bid adieu to Mabinti, Jean-Paul and a few others. (Mabinti had come in for my final day so that we could work together one last time.)
I must admit I hadn't expected to develop such affection for the children, the teachers and the Emmaus staff in such a short time. Developing relationships and sharing the experiences I have with the people in these various venues has really augmented my time in the Poirot household and added much colour to the adventure.
That night, Myriam, Thierry and I were invited to a dinner party at a former colleague's place. It included all the folks from Vincent's party a few days ago and a few more. The extent of the meal was similar, complete with the appetizers, plat principal, cheeses, baquette, salad verte and tartes aux pommes. When the conversation wasn't too quick, I could understand more and get some of the jokes, and even picked up a new gesture, equivalent to 'oo la la,' along the way. At about 11:30, as before, we arose from the dinner table and started bidding good night, completing the ritual about half an hour later.