Saying goodbye to Zhangzhou and all the people come to know and love there was another one of those hard and emotionally draining experiences you have in life. Leaving Newcastle broke my heart and the same happened when I left Zhangzhou. Oh my word it was hard.
In the days running up to my departure on 1st September I had 4 consecutive days of saying goodbye to people. This included unexpectedly early goodbyes to Aila, Jona and Jim, the Philippine band at our favourite bar Muse, whose new visas had not been sorted out by their utterly useless agent and had to leave China the very next day of being told (31st August), so it was not just me saying goodbye to them, but everyone else. Jim had been teasing me for weeks saying “you’re leaving soon!” trying to make me cry, but it was his “we’re leaving before you!” that really did it for me, and everyone else to be honest.
The same was the case with Darren, who left for his first year of university. Darren was a student at the high school where Grace (UK) and Manuel (Italy)
had been teaching and he came along to Manuel’s birthday party…the rest as they say is history. We became very good friends and the goodbye to him set the tone for the rest of the week, painful!
The children were equally as hard to say goodbye to. At the party on the 31st for the birthday children and I’d managed to hold it together until the end until little Amy, who I’d taught for the entirety of my time in Zhangzhou came up and said that she was going to miss me lots and that open the floodgates, for my tears and the kids coming up to say goodbye and have their photo taken with me.
So why leave Zhangzhou?
I had 2 fantastic years in China, the majority of 1 and a half years of that time spent in Zhangzhou. I stated at the beginning of this post that I love the place. I want to go back, I don’t know when but I want to.
But I need a new challenge (and finding a job certainly is one!). The teaching part of my job was fantastic but combined with the management role of the whole school for the last 6 months it was really a strain on me – just see this for an emotional post. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoyed it immensely.
I need a break from China too. The place has touched my heart yet there are things I still despise about it!
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“You can take the girl out of China, but you can’t take China out of the girl.”
– Bennett, 2013.