"The elements be kind to thee and make thy spirits all of comfort..."
2018春，我们一起的四个月如今已经凝固成一份份淡淡的记忆：或是在国际大厦课堂上与老师同学们一起开心分享一例美文，或是晚上自修室里独自静静地品味语言之美，或者周二傍晚在英语角与异国朋友天南地北地闲聊，或是相约登上歌乐山顶感受一份惬意。一切都看似平淡无常，但我们却以此为傲！因为，这是一段值得拥有的日子，有“stay hungry, stay foolish”的执着，有为更自信的跨文化交际所付出的真心，有你我挚友相伴的真情，正如Robin老师所言，“We met–worked–played–ate–struggled–laughed–shared–and celebrated together”。
Hello, beautiful people!!!....
Just this morning I met with the last of you in room 1115 – for the last time... because these four months have just about come and gone... The time for goodbyes has suddenly appeared...
Alan Alda, an American actor wrote,
"The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart."
At this point in your travels it is right that we should be gathered together and savour this moment on the road... We met – worked – played – ate – struggled – laughed – shared – and celebrated together --- and, in a few day’s time, you will head out in various directions with the next steps on your mind...
I wonder how many English speakers who have written about the heartache and loss of goodbye – actually know what it means?
It means – God be with you. Somewhere along the way between the 14th century and the late 16th century those four little words were smashed together into one – and that may be the greater loss – because we’ve lost the original sense of it.
I for one am not sad to see you all go – and not because I won’t miss you! Missing you is the mark of knowing you if that knowing has made me richer – which it has – richer in every way that money cannot measure or buy...
I am truly blessed to be among those who welcomed you and was honoured to meet with you every week ... I am blessed to be among those inspired by your determination to come so far and climb this mountain – but this mountain is just a stop along the road. You all have so much more to do, so many more people to meet, so many more gifts to give and receive. Life is – after all – a lot of coming and going – and! – it is the stretch of time between that first hello and this goodbye that sweetens them both...
Whether or not one believes in God, the true heart of the word Goodbye is perhaps - better held as a joyful thing on an occasion such as this – I look out at you and think – how blessed are all those who will welcome you next... Wherever you go, there are people whose world will be better and brighter with you in it and I can only be happy with the thought of all the good that you will do and see on your travels.
Goodbye is both a blessing and a prayer – a prayer that far from home you will have the comfort of strangers who will quickly reveal themselves as friends – and also a prayer for the road itself to unwind with as much good fortune and good weather as you need to carry you back home again...
William Shakespeare wrote these lines for Caesar, spoken to his sister, Octavia...
"Farewell, my sister, fare thee well.
The elements be kind to thee and make
Thy spirits all of comfort: fare thee well."
... but I prefer an Irish way of putting it:
“May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.” – Irish proverb