When I left Greece last year, there was a discussion about whether or not saying, "Goodbye" is appropriate. Because "goodbye" indicates finality. To say, "See you later," means you expect to see someone again.
Today I took one of my friends to the airport for, most likely, the last time. She and her husband are Greek, from the city of Kavala (which is where I visited last year and where she is headed today), but at the end of summer, they are not returning to Rhode Island. They are moving elsewhere in the USA.
I wrote briefly about their goodbye party a couple of weeks ago, and all the emotions it wrought, since they were my first set of Greek friends in Rhode Island after I returned from Greece*. They would meet with me for coffee to practice Greek with me; we made Mexican burritos; I met their parents and stayed with their families in Greece; we went on pub crawls for New Year's; we shared celebrations and festivals and dancing together. And I will hopefully always be baby Christina's "American Aunt Jenny."
*the first time
Panos and Christina are already in Greece, and today Eirini left to join them. And I was lucky enough to be the one to take her (as well as Cleo, the cat). We laughed and joked and listened to Greek music along the way. She and her family are my Rhode Island Greek family.
When we hugged at the airport, it was not a hug goodbye. It was a hug to say, Ta leme.
I'll see you later.