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.