Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Panda, A Pig, and A Party

The past month has been a roller coaster of laughter and tears, happening at the same time.  While I am excited about my new journey, my heart is breaking because I am leaving my family of coworkers and friends.

The goodbyes started on May 18th, the day that I formally resigned.  After dropping my letter of resignation at the district office, I attended my last ITS meeting.  I noticed that on the agenda was “A Special Note”.  The special note was my surprise farewell party, complete with a Kung Fu Panda goodbye cake. 

I was so surprised to find this cake at my meeting!  

Apparently the team wanted to write good luck or goodbye on the cake in Chinese, but the bakery was unable to fulfill the request.  So I got Bon Voyage instead. J The ITS crew is an intelligent, hard working, and fun group.  To steal quote one of my fellow ITSses,
“I will never again work with such a special group.” 

This is 5/7ths of the Elementary ITS Team.  What a great group of gals!

I am SO SO blessed to have worked with an incredible group of people these past 5 school years.

The second major round of goodbyes happened the last day of school at Beech Hill and Summerville Elementary schools.  Unfortunately they happened at the same time, so I was not able to celebrate with my Summerville peeps.  They gave me a darling monogrammed charm, so I will never forget who I am, or that I shared a great year with them.  

SES 2012 was engraved on the back of the charm!  I LOVE it!

The teachers at Summerville are some of the most caring and fun people I have met.  They have a tough job, yet they teach in style!

I was able to celebrate my Palmetto’s Finest year at Beech Hill that afternoon.  My boss, Rene Harris, is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. 

Auntie Rene and I share a moment during the farewell luncheon.

Auntie Rene (my aunt by adoption) has read me, grown me, and mentored me for the past five years.  She has this spidey sense about her that makes her an incredible leader who inspires excellence.  I am going to miss her and the Beech Hill crew immensely!  They are truly Palmetto’s Finest in EVERY way!!  It breaks my heart to leave.

The third round of goodbyes fell over Memorial Day weekend.  Chris’ Bosch lab mates threw us a goodbye party.  
Chris' boss Tom roasts Chris with us a story of how Chris created a termite home by leaving a box of papers in the corner of the lab.

Chris displays his parting gift, an autographed lab portrait.

Chris' co-worker, Tater, rubs Chris' head for good luck.

I had a great time chatting about our adventure, enjoying his coworkers home brew, and sharing the blog with Chris’ work family.  I know that Chris is going to miss them.

My final round of goodbyes happened last Thursday.  One of my dearest friends, Melinda, came over to say goodbye.  I admit, I was really REALLY dreading this goodbye.  So in a grand Ava/Bianca/NASCAR tradition, I prepared Mel's goodbye gifts; a bag full of unused Bath and Body Works products, and a LOVELY portrait of Jimmie Johnson that has been passed between us for the last 8 years. 

Mel (aka Bianca) shows off her newest art acquisition.

Since great minds think alike, she gave me a touching gift wrapped in a Holiday Chinese takeout container. After pouring us glasses of wine, I cracked open the fortune cookie that was attached to the gift and found the following fortune:

Initially, I had NO clue what this meant.
I was impressed; Mel had taken a traditional fortune cookie, tweezered out the old fortune and replaced it with a cryptic clue.  I opened the gift box to find Desperation.

My gift from have to love it!

Her eyes...they look so desperate!!

Desperation is a pig statue that I gave Melinda multiple years ago as a gag gift.  We call the pig Desperation because of the pained look on the pig’s face as she is nursing her piglets.  Needless to say, Desperation will have a place of honor in our Shanghai home.

After giggling for a few hours and drinking 5 year old Bartles and James Strawberry Wine coolers (in true redneck fashion), we said a tearful goodbye.

Our 11 years in South Carolina have been wonderful!  Thank you to everyone who has made our lives so blessed. 

To quote Auntie Rene,
            “Don’t look back, always look forward!” 

Forward we shall go!