This final week in China has been full of goodbye after goodbye after goodbye, not just to people, but to places and ways of life as well. It’s a long, stressful process that makes me realize just how many people have impacted me and vice versa.
1. Ashia and AJ
One of the first goodbyes happened over a month ago when my good friends Ashia and AJ left for the States for the summer. Since they wouldn’t be returning until after I left, I already had to say goodbye over a month before I was even leaving.
2. Graduating Big Apple Students
The next goodbyes were later in June with my graduating preschool students. As they were moving on to Elementary school, it felt like a proper goodbye because they were leaving as well, and felt a similar sense of nostalgia.
Then came the goodbye to my first roommate, first friend, and the first person I met in China, Sunny. She helped me so much in the beginning, back when I knew nothing about life in China. It’s so cool to see how far she’s come as well, and now she’s even married!
4. Big Apple Students and Teachers
The next round of goodbyes was to my teachers and students. I was treated tomany group hugs, and one class even made me goodbye cards!
5. My Roommates
Then my roommates took me out to dinner. Even thought we don’t speak the same language, I have gotten to know these girls just through sharing a living space with them every day for almost a year. I was put in such a unique position, one many foreigners don’t get to experience, of living with Chinese who speak no English.
6. Chinese Corner
Then came a goodbye to the Chinese corner I have been attending for the past 6 months. It was always such a fun way to practice Chinese in a friendly environment with people who had a similar level as me.
7. Single Friends
I also had a going away dinner with my single friends, but we forgot to take a picture.
8. Church Fellowship
Sunday afternoon my entire church group took Tamsyn and I out to a huge Chinese lunch. This fellowship has meant so much to me in my time in China. I cannot even begin to describe the incredible love and support I have received from this group in the last two years.
9. The Purple Pulls
On my last day in China, I had to say goodbye to the Purple Pulls (Pals). These ladies have been my best friends in China the past few months. From bonding over the hell that was hiking Taishan, to Tuesday night dinners, to movie nights and eating watermelon with spoons, I’ve enjoyed every second with Misti, Cindy, and Tamsyn. Misti and Cindy are staying on in China while Tamsyn and I are trekking through Thailand together. We had to say goodbye and it was one of the hardest goodbyes of the week. But, we are already planning reunions in Iceland and Mongolia.
10. Joel and Jessica
This was the last and the hardest goodbye for me to say. Not only did I meet Joel and Jessica my first full day in China, but they accepted me into their family. From countless dinners, countless bedtime stories, two Christmases, dozens of birthdays, days at the beach, and long culture-stress driven rants, Joel, Jessica and the girls have been an invaluable support to me in my two years in China. I will miss you guys!
As I am sitting at the airport now waiting for my flight out, I am gripped with both sadness for the end an incredible period in my life, but so thankful for the sadness as well, because it means China and the people in it made an impact on my life.