Today I taught my last class at HDU.
There are 2 weeks left, but this week is the last week I am acually teaching a lesson that I have prepared. Next week they are giving their final exam presentations and then the last week we are eating cake and getting buck wild (or just sitting around chatting, we'll see what happens).
I was scurrying down the hall mentally going over my lesson after the lunch period and suddenly it hit me: this is the last time I do this. Holy junk. The nostalgia is almost painful it is so powerful. I guess that means it's been a good ride.
Anyways, the 3 day work week was insanely busy as always. I thought for some reason when I got this schedule that it would be awesome, but instead it has turned into 15 hour work days and weekends that don't feel like weekends at all - but instead another week.
On Monday I was able to see Lizzie and her family who were in town for a short blip as part of a Chin.a sight-seeing tour that was stopping in Han.gzhou for a jaunt around the lake. Lizzie and I met on the 2007 Chi.na trip with Intervarsity. She spent this year teaching near Beijing, and we haven't seen each other since we rang in the New Year together with our friend Jes on a train from Shijiaz.huang to Qin.gdao. (good times).
It was wonderful and affirming to meet her family. There is so much to be said about being near family. Any family. When her dad met me, he wrapped his arms around me and said, "you look like you need a hug!" I was like, "dude, I need a family!" I love the Am.erican ideas of hugging and showing affection. I miss that. We hung out and walked to the West Lake and saw the water show. It was a great evening and made me even more excited for when my family visits (if that is even possible!)
Today I stayed after work in Xia.sha to be a judge at the first annual graduate student english speaking competition. I had several students make it to the final round and my dear student Sophie won 2nd place. I felt like a proud Mama English Bear. Watching my little English cubs grow up and leave the hibernation cave. It was fun, though these competitions can be a little...ummm...repetitious. When every topic is something like, "Ch.ina embraces the world" and you have heard the words "Olympics" and "Expo" more times than you can count...the brain sometimes goes to auto-pilot and you feel like you are in a broken record of robotic sounds.
Some of the students were really ingenuitive though, and that was refreshing and wonderful. I was proud to see how brave my students were and happy to listen to their improved pronunciation. I was just really proud of them.
Tonight I was chatting online with Sophie and she was asking me about my future plans. I have refrained from really discussing my personal life with my students because I think it's not professional/don't want to make them jealous/and think I'm not really that interesting to begin with.
I was telling her about going to study next year and out of no where I get this:
teacher,i think your life is wonderful
My response was something like: Yes, I have many blessings. And I want all my students to have many blessings also.
Yes, I have an amazing life. I have many blessings and fre.edo.m that is unimaginable to most people around me. But how does a person transfer that feeling of wholeness to another? How can I express to my students that their lives are also full of possibility? That they should not admire me and just think I have a cool life, but that they should try for their own personal dreams?
This is something I have wondered for 2 years now. I don't think I will ever find the answer, I'm not so sure it exists. But hopefully some small kernel, some teeny nugget of similarity can be found between us that allows some of them to agree with me when I say, "We are the same. Nothing has made me more special than you. We come from the same Creator."
I have like 10 more things I want to blog about but the obsessive compulsive side of me thinks they all need their own post.
some of the English competition contestants and their cheering section:
Lizzie's family! with the water show behind us.