Friday, June 29, 2012

Last Days in Old Rizhao

There's a book I want to read called Last Days in Old Beijing, which inspires the title for this post even though Rizhao isn't that old.

Anyway, my last couple days in Rizhao were pretty chaotic -- filled with grading, packing, moving, cleaning, and goodbyes.  I had a big Dongxi (stuff) Give-Away at my apartment on Monday night and about half of my 300 students trooped through my apartment taking my stuff and saying their goodbyes.  So that was exhausting, but it was good to have a last event that people could come to and say goodbye rather than juggle a bunch of smaller invitations.

Dongxi Give-Away

Goodbyes a-plenty

A few students asked me to write on the back of the photo cards I gave them to remember my e-mail address.  I felt like a celebrity... or a high school senior.

I meant to have a last "Rizhao" day where I went to all my favorite places and explored a few new ones, but I was about a day too short to make that dream come true.  Other unfulfilled dreams: An outdoor student dance party and a series of student Q&A videos.  Alas, there just wasn't enough time.

I got all my belongings whittled down to 2 suitcases and a small box I sent to America (heads up, Mom and Dad!). 

On my last day in Rizhao, my roommate and I were frantically trying to get our apartment ready for the next occupants, which meant a lot of in-depth cleaning and trashing.  She was still packing, however, so we were saved by some very sweet students who volunteered to come over and do exciting things with us like wiping out our fridge and carrying down our garbage.  Thank the Lord for Chinese students -- I'm serious!  I was thanking Him (and them) a lot.

Goodbye to my neighbor the Japanese teacher

Mid-morning on our last day in the apartment -- still a lot to do.

I cried when I said goodbye to Sara.  (She left about an hour before me.)  One of the students walked with me so I could get some dinner for the train.  He took it upon himself to comfort me by saying things like, "Just change your mood and be happy," and "You can't change it so just accept it."  Then he said, "Actually, I'm not very good at comforting girls when they are crying."  I thought it was pretty funny and I gave him some advice to improve his girl-comforting skillz.

Two fellow teachers drove me to the train station and then I had a good 12.5 hour ride up here to Beijing.

Goodbye, Rizhao.  It's been a good year.

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