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Published: July 29th 2010
LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL:
It has been an interesting year filled with both ups and downs while living in China. The last bit of time that we had has flown by and we didn’t even have time to write about our final days at school. Our time had been filled with trips to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Xi’an, and finally to Vietnam. We also had to spend countless hours surfing the internet looking for suitable teaching positions for next year. In all I’d say we applied to close to 200 positions throughout China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, heard back from 35, and committed to only one.
After pulling some strings with the school we were told our last week of teaching would be May 31st. Elyse was down to only teaching 2 days a week; Tuesday and Thursday. While I only had 3 days a week; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
We met up with 3 of our CTLC teacher friends to have hot pot for one last time and say farewell to Long Gang. Jason and Kathleen taught at the neighboring high school, while Maggie taught at a Primary-Junior high school teaching grades 7 and 8.
On Tuesday, Elyse had her last English Corner. She has been teaching it once a week since November for students that want to practice their English. I have only gone to 2 of them; the last session for the first term and the last session of the second term. She has really touched some of these students’ lives and it is amazing to witness the students’ smiles and bright eyes along with the personal reward Elyse has gained by them. When it came time to say goodbye after the typical 40 minute session the students just didn’t want to leave and Elyse didn’t either. We stayed for over two hours that night talking with the students and taking pictures.
Wednesday, we met up with the 3 couples that we have become best friends with over the year and will remain lifelong friends; Kris & Kelly, Jimmy & Cali and Martin & Staci. We went to Ex-Pats a bar owned by an Australian which also serves great pizza from NYPD pizza next door. We drank beers and enjoyed great food and when it came time to leave none of us wanted to face that it would be the last time
we all see each other.
Our last meal with our fellow teachers from Long Cheng High School was thrown together last minute, typical Chinese style, since we were so busy and they didn’t realize we were done teaching already. We went to lunch on Thursday, June 3rd and it was quite the showdown. The table was filled with many different types of food. Grasshoppers were served and this was the first time Elyse and I had eaten them. Tasted just like a over fried crunchy French fry. For dessert we had two types of sticky rice that is eaten during Dragon Boat Festival which will be celebrated on June 14-16th. The male teachers drank lots of beer even though it was lunch hour and the women only drank tea. There was lots of “gang bei” which is a toast and the literal translation means bottoms up.
We went back to the school to teach our last few classes as Elyse was done this day, even though I had a few more classes on Friday morning. When we left the school that night it was surreal as the road construction outside the school gates was nearly finished. After our
arrival in August we wondered how long it would take them to complete the project.
Even though we have had our ups and downs living in Shenzhen overall we are leaving with a smile on our face and will return to China in August to teach another year of English in Hangzhou.
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