Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Here

This past Sunday, I was singing a hymn with my fellowship (on a completely unrelated topic) when I was suddenly struck with a strong desire to stay in Rizhao for another year.

I was thinking about my students and how I'm finally starting to feel close to them after praying for closer relationships all last semester.

I was thinking about how awesome it would be to teach the same group of students two years in a row.  Only once have I ever taught a group of students twice -- less than 40 students of the 700-some I've taught in three years.  That group of repeat students was my favorite class of all time.

I was thinking about how Rizhao is a practically perfect Chinese city and how my days of biking down to the beach are numbered.

I was thinking about students who keep being surprised that I'm leaving even when I know I've told them before.  One student was nice enough to say, "That's the last news I wanted to hear today."

I was thinking about two students my roommate and I meet with each week and how we could grow into better mentors and friends if we had more time.

I was thinking about all the things I've learned about this city, this country, and this culture in the last few months alone, and how much more I have to learn.

Just now, I am sitting in a coffee shop planning my lessons for the rest of the year, and I'm again struck by how short my time is.  I could easily walk out of this coffee shop having planned the last lesson I'll ever plan for these students.  But I have so much more I want to teach them!

In my dream world, someone would give me a group of freshmen and let me teach them every subject I know how to teach for four years.  It always feels like just when I'm starting to get somewhere with a group of students, the year is over.

It's here.

All year, I've been ambivalent about leaving Rizhao.  I've never been as attached to this place or these people as I was to my former home (Qufu), but now it's here.  The realization that I really am attached and the realization that I really am leaving have arrived at the same time.  The end is coming in less than two months, and I'll be sad to leave.


  1. Glad to hear things are going better. At least you will be leaving on a high note!

  2. of course. stay until you go, friend. (at least I'll be here to greet you! well, sort of.)