Wearing masks and gloves, suitcases packed and ready, we ran up Alpina Hill to La Casa, a van waiting to leave for Geneva airport.
My typical end of term advice ‘don’t lose your passport’ was followed by the not so ordinary ‘wash your hands’ and a final use of hand sanitiser. I didn’t want them to leave, and was anxious to hear that they had arrived home safely. The van leaving, I waved goodbye as they disappeared in the distance of Avenue Centrale, one last air hug while we could still see each other.
The last Clairmont girls had left...
As I returned to our now empty pink home, for a moment it was there - my dream! A quiet, tidy house; the kitchen clean, fire cards turned, everything seeming so perfect. But this moment didn’t last. I was already missing them and was faced with a challenge - how to keep the spirit of the house alive and be available to my girls as their online House Parent.
Ms Broerse (or Bru Bru as our Assistant House Parent is known) - as efficient as ever - had already started. We now had Google Hangouts groups for all years as well as the wonderful “Clairmont (all)” and amazing things began happening;
We started to see new sides of each other, met each others’ pets, enjoyed views from other sides of the globe, started video calls for no other reason than to see each other, said how much we miss one other and have sent and received silly selfies. Always reassuring and supporting each other.
Was this because of Google Hangouts? No.
It was because of the months we have had sharing our home together. Winning and losing inter-house competitions as a house. Expeditions. Movie nights...a bond of experiences in which we lived by the Aiglon principles.
Today we can’t be together, but it is reassuring to see how good things emerge in difficult times and that the spirit of community still remains, albeit differently.
It is now online.
That day, waving goodbye as Gina and Susanna left for the airport, I remember thinking that being an online House Parent would be impossible, but the girls have proved me wrong. They are not only making it possible, but are taking it to levels I never imagined. It truly is amazing.
Although I am seeing many beautiful things happen on my screen and am writing these words in a quiet and tidy house, I just can’t wait for the kitchen to be a mess again and the noise which comes with life in Clairmont to return.
I just can’t wait until I can give those air hugs for real.
About Mila López Sancho
Mrs López Sancho is Clairmont House Parent and a Spanish Language and Literature teacher. Since joining Aiglon in 2013, she has served as the school's Round Square Coordinator and been a regular leader of international and local service projects. Mila loves nothing more than spending time in house with the girls and is passionate about sharing the language and culture of her native Spain.