Birthday Party Goodbyes

In which I celebrate my quarter of a century with memories

Yes, that’s right. It’s my birthday today, I’m 25. Or 26 if you count it in Chinese years…I do not.

Today I want to share with you the birthday party I had with my students in Zhangzhou. It wasn’t for me, but for all the children with birthdays from the months of March-August (we missed out a quarterly one somewhere so bunged them all together in one big party!)

It was also the last time that I would see the students as I was leaving Zhangzhou the day after the party.

I decided that we would have a party where I didn’t really have to plan anything and Paul agreed with me! It was going to be bad and stressful enough saying goodbye to the students, let along organising a lot of things for it, so Summer organised for a biscuit making session to be held in one of the local department stores.

All I had to do was take photos and watch, which was bliss. The students seemed to have a good time too and I didn’t get a picture of any finished and cooked biscuits and they quickly disappeared into mouths!

collage 4

collage 3

collage 2

 It was soon cake time and I also gave out some gifts to those whose birthdays fell between March and August.

chinese birthday cake

All mine!

Then, Summer “reminded” the students that I was leaving and asked them to come up if they wanted to say something to me. Little Amy, cutest girl in the world came up first and it wasn’t long before I was breaking down in tears because she was saying how much she would miss me. 2013-09-01 12.22.37

After I managed to pull myself together, it was photo time with students and also my wonderful Chinese colleagues.

Students: Amy, Lucy, Tony, Bob, Jamie, Bobby, Chen, Julia, Chris, Queenie, Jason, Holly, Bob, Lucy

Students: Amy, Lucy, Tony, Bob, Jamie, Bobby, Chen, Julia, Chris, Queenie, Jason, Holly, Bob, Lucy

My colleagues: Wendy, Betty, Summer, Karen, Billy

My colleagues: Wendy, Betty, Summer, Karen, Billy

It was such an emotionally draining afternoon.

It didn’t stop there however as the next day I was sat in a coffee shop, having advertised to all my students that I would be there for a time before catching a bus to Xiamen airport. I knew some of the adults were popping in but I did not expect Will.

Will

Will

Will is very special to me as I remember clearly the first time I met him. He had been brought to one of our demonstration classes way back in February 2012 and was crying as he came into the room. By the time he left half an hour later, he was beaming. He since became a very confident little boy in the year and a half I knew him. It was great for him and his mum to the coffee shop to say goodbye, I was very touched.

No more. As I’ll cry on my birthday otherwise. I don’t know how I’m going to celebrate this year, but this post is a good start!

What do you think to my cute, cute students?!

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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