Goodbye is often another way of saying “Thank You.”
I finished my year of anthropological fieldwork in Switzerland 2 weeks ago. The weeks leading up to my departure on November 14th were a flurry of farewells and goodbyes, often in the form of cakes, pies, and last suppers. In some cases, I was counting down the minutes as I ran to the homes of friends just to see them one last time and, more importantly, thank them for opening their houses and hearts to a meek anthropologist. I’m learning that farewell-time is one in which an often latent world of social ties suddenly comes out of the woodwork, like a sudden sprouting—all of the not-always-evident relationships and even the loosely held links (in addition to the long-standing friendships) suddenly revive and become visible again.
The farewell compels this flowering; it’s a reminder of temporariness, and is a period of recognition and acknowledgment. I left my field wishing I could carry all of the lovely people and their sweetness back home with me, but I overlooked that “home” had now stretched its boundaries. It only took a year (!), and I can only hope and resolve that the things I learned and gleaned will somehow carry over and translate into a new life.
In spite of the goodbye flurry–or because of it–I was able to get some drawing in (less blogging). Here are 3 of the handmade thank yous I made for friends and family. The time spent drawing into the wee hours of the morning helped me to make the imminent goodbyes more than just an ache in the chest.
Heart in paper. A first stab (or snip) at Scherenschnitte, the intricate Swiss art of paper-cutting (with which I fell deeply in love). More on this in a later post. Merci, watercolour butterfly. I'm finally learning to love technical pens. This is a card in Farsi with a bolbol (nightingale). Kheili mamnoon: Thank you very much. 🙂