Sunday, August 3, 2008

Holy..."I'll love you forever. I will never forget You!"

Saturday morning, these words were a constant. We woke up early and the entire Hong Kong English teachers staff loaded buses for the rally. Since the location and the money of this rally was difficult standards for our students to reach, we imagined only a few would come. We sat down in the gym and watched other teachers unite with their students. After making a few jokes about how many people from our school would show, an entire swamp of Pui Ying middle schoolers flooded through the doors. The everlasting line of kids tied my stomach into a knot. The other teachers and I were filled with joy when roughly 75 of our students greeted us with hugs, cheers, laughter, and love. As I hugged each student that arrived, departure really began to set in. I almost lost it emotionally before the rally even began. These kids got up so early and came to see their American friends one last time. They were all smiling and big eyes as they saw each one of us. Regardless of who their teachers are, they love being around all of us. The rally began with some English songs and we danced with the kids. I will tell you about a couple that I am really close to. A girl we call Crazy who is in Mike's class (Mike and I had classrooms next door to eachother so we did lots of activities together on a daily basis so his kids and mine shared teachers almost), and I are really tight. She is so sweet and has a male teacher so she likes to hang on me some. Her English is okay so it is fun to spend time with her. She and another student, Tracy (a very small little one in Liz's class) are the two that I was really attached to at the rally. Tracy is the most hyper, crazy, disobedient, funny, but loving student! Liz has difficulties getting her to behave and since she is wild all the kids love her. She's like the smallest one but everyone likes her because she's so bad. However, she and I have clicked since day one. I guess I can relate to her :-). She always runs up to me, gives me a hug (she fits so perfectly on my chest because she is so tiny). Anyways, they sat by me at the rally and hung all over me. Tracy made fun of all the students who were crying but when I teared up, she would say, "Don't cry... haha you crying.. haha missy... why you cry! Like Miss Christi, you cry~!" haha! I cant say much about the rally until I see you but it was really great. After the rally, out of nowhere, Tracy runs to me and buries her little head in my chest and I feel a waterfall from her eyes. As she cried and cried I couldn't even get her to look up at me. She wouldn't show her face because she didn't want others to see. Seriously, she probably stood there squeezing me for about 20 minutes. Her and Crazy and some other girls I love just continued crying and hugging me. I wanted to go give others hugs and tell them bye but I guess an attachment can prohibit you from going too far. I loved every minute of it though. Those girls are so precious. i literally thought my organization leader was going to have to pull Tracy off me. These kids just never experience love like this. As the leaders were telling us to finish our goodbyes, I began to tear up big time. As I waved goodbye from the doors, I lost it walking to the bus. The thought of possibly never seeing these kids again breaks my heart. What hurts the most, is knowing that some of them don't know truth and may not ever hear about it again. It almost felt like I didn't do my best here because I wanted them to see the TRUE love that I have found. The love I give them is only an example of the love that has been granted to me. I tell them, that is the reason I am in Hong kong. On the bus, we all sat and sobbed. As hard as this was, it was great to see the kids running down the sidewalks as we pulled away. We laughed at the different students because they are so sweet and fun. Upon arrival to the dorms, we had a Hong Kong group meeting to begin the details of departure. Saturday afternoon, we met some of the last years kids again at the Mall. We ate and hung out with them for a long time. I LOVE this group of kids. They are more like my friends though. They are way more mature and their English astonishes me! At the end of the day, they gave me the sweetest gift. They gave me a photo thing carved with their names on the outside and on the inside it has a picture of me and them on the left and it is hand painted and my cartoon is painted on the right along with a sweet message. They each gave me a card that was like a letter. It was so wonderful! When we left these girls, I was ok because I know these are my friends and my hopes to be back again in Hong Kong are relatively high and the chance that I will see them again is as well. After packing for what seemed like years, I slept about three hours into today, Sunday!

We loaded up the buses this morning and headed to the airport. It truly doesn't feel like I'm leaving. It just is so much to set in that I can't quite grasp what has happened or what is going on. All the other groups have flied out but my team was supposed to depart an hour ago. We have been delayed for two hours. I am in the airport looking through photos and gifts, glorifying Him in all that has taken place in the last month of my life. I love this country, these people, this culture, and this experience. I want to see everyone at home but I honestly hope to be back here soon! I will continue as I can but I may be so tired I won't get another chance to write until I am home. Please lift up all my students because many of our kids have been trying to call and text to see us one more time because, "I not ok. I very sad. You have left yet? I can see you again!?" Their tender hearts can't seem to adjust as quick as we expect but He is the king of peace. Love,

Holy Closing

Wai!  (hello in Cantonese pronounced like why),
So... It is time for me to tell you about Friday-the last day of teaching in Hong Kong. I honestly went in thinking it would be difficult and sappy but wait until you hear what happened! Okay, so I go in to my classroom a little late because I was finishing putting my class gifts together, and there was only 5 students in the room. Little by little others showed up to amount to 9 kids out of 21. In confusion, I questioned the other students where I could find my class. In broken English I found out that there was a registration for the Fall that morning. So, I just allowed the other students to play cards and hang out until the others arrived. Well, around 9:45 when the teacher came to collect rolls, I told her I had no students. The problem was this- since our closing ceremony was at 2, many of the students thought that we didn't have class and they could just go home until 2pm. Even though I was very sad, I tried to give the ones who came some fun. We ended up walking to a McDonalds and sat down (their idea). They weren't eating though, and none of this crew can speak much English. BORING! I sat their watching them talk and play games. So, at 11 I paid for each of them to get an icecream and then we headed back to the school. Pretty much, the morning was pitiful. I was really upset because this is the last day and no one came. I worked so hard on the gifts but no students to give them to. After lunch, my class finally showed up. We worked very quickly to get together our program for the Closing Ceremonies at 2. The ceremony was really fun. Each class did their presentation of English class. We had  funny skits, songs, slideshows, and dances. My class did a cheer that made fun of all the other classes so everyone was laughing. After we finished, my class surprised me with the presentation of a rose in a glass bottle. (it will never die just like our friendships).  The students all received a certificate of completion and then we had to say bye to the kids. I am really closer to some students who are not in my class. My class is one of the lowest English speakers so it is HIGHLY difficult to form relationships. However, I am extremely close to alot of the other students. Good bye wasn't that difficult on Friday. I am not sure why, but I stayed strong. The kids were really emotional. Many of them stood at our bus in tears for a long time. Once we got back home, the team departed their own ways for the evening. Me, Mike, and Katie went to a restaurant that is just like an OCharleys. It was good to have some familiar yummy food. Even though the day was over, I still didn't feel like Hong Kong and I were finished. I wasn't really sad and I was just really looking forward to the rally on Saturday!