Friday, October 21, 2016
As I contemplate more goodbyes this week, I am reminded of the various ways I've heard the French bid goodbye to each other here. Many encounters end with 'Bonne journée,' (when it is still daylight) or 'Bonne soirée' (when you know they have an event yet in the evening or their night is obviously not finished); if you aren't sure and it's evening, 'Bonsoir' always works. If you're going to see someone again fairly soon (and this can be relative), you may use ' À bientôt,' 'Tout à l'heure,' or 'À la prochaine fois.' When someone is being left to face a task or challenge, 'Bonne chance' or 'Bonne courage' are common. Between friends and family, 'Bisous' (kisses) is a very common leave-taking; I would also see this often as the ending of a text or email, or a slightly more formal ' Je t'embrasse bien fort.' From my experience, the French never just leave without there being a formal goodbye of some sort. Even in the stores, 'Merci' is generally not enough when ending an encounter with a clerk.
Once my class was over on Thursday, I was struck that I no longer had any scheduled events left. It felt like a kind of freedom for sure and I anticipated that I would be able to use the time to finish off some tasks I had set for myself: finishing my journal, writing the family a goodbye / thank you letter, buying some small gifts, completing some 'back to work' shopping, and fulfilling a final request of Vincent's to tape a few English stories for his class. There seemed to be plenty of hours left yet.
But, it also turns out that Myriam and Thierry had a few more excursions, meals and experiences in mind for me to round out my stay so life continued on its busy course.