Friday, August 28, 2015

Jane emigrates to Australia

We have continued to teach our weekly English class to the Chinese students whenever we are in town.  It has been a fantastic experience.   However, I did have one very sad thing happen.

A couple weeks ago, one of my favorite students, "Jane" (on the far right in this picture), came to me with a gift - a lovely orange silk scarf.  She said to me in her somewhat halting English.  "I go to Australia.  I get this for you.  You very good teacher".  I was deeply touched by her kindness and thanked her sincerely for the present.  At the time, however, what I THOUGHT was that she had taken a trip to Australia and had felt prompted to bring me back a gift.  I had no idea she meant she was actually about to move to Australia and I would never see her again.  She was telling me goodbye, but I did not understand that at the time.

When I showed up for class this week and she was missing I was disappointed.  I always look forward to seeing her as she is a bright student and very much a joy to work with.  I asked some of the others where she was.  They said "She moved to Australia.  She's not coming back."  I was stunned.

Suddenly it dawned on me the mistake I had made.  I felt terrible that I had not properly acknowledged her leaving.  SHE got to say goodbye to me, in her own way.  But I simply didn't recognize that at the time. So I did not get to properly say my own goodbyes to her.

I will miss this sweet woman who was in many ways the bright spot of our class, always encouraging others.  This also serves as a reminder to me that we never know when we will lose the people in our lives.  I want to be sure I acknowledge the people I care about while they are with me so there will be no regrets when they are gone.

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