Wednesday, 27 August 2008

They made me cry...

If you are ever feeling emotionally constipated, and you just can't find a way to get the tears a-flowin'...come teach in Taiwan for a month and try to say goodbye in front of 200 people. Those tears will find you faster than you would ever believe.
Today was the closing ceremony for session B, and once again, my students went above, beyond, and then beyond beyond. While most other classes did adorable song and dance presentations, my hilarious students decided to put on a full-blown play about my traveling gnome, Finnigan and how he was lost. My dear Stuart was Finnigan and yes, he had a beard and a pointy red hat! He was looking for me when he ran into two girls who were traveling the world so they took him around the world looking for me. Then they "stopped" at a few countries where they each took turns playing characters in each country and they played a song from each country. Of course my 'shake it' girl, Sabrina was the charmed snake in India...adorable. I was sitting in the front row, laughing like crazy at their creativity, when 'Finnigan' came out into the audience and took me on stage. The music changed to "You raise me up" and I knew things were about to change. Sure enough, they presented me with a couple presents they made for me and then they handed the microphone to my darling Karen. I looked at her and she barely said, "Annaka..." when she started crying. Seeing this girl cry was like someone reached behind my eyes and turned on the tears. She couldn't speak. She was trying to tell me thank you, but she just couldn't squeak it out. Finally, Irene took the mic from her, Karen came over and I put my arm around her, and started their thank you's and goodbye's. Almost all of my students took turns holding the mic and saying their last words to me, most of which were tearing up themselves. Tears, man. Just when I thought I was an emotional zyborg, unable to squeeze out any tears over anything, these amazing students touch my heart and make me tear up in front of over 2oo people and on camera. That's right, I'm not thrilled with the thought of it, but me fighting tears made it onto film. Every time I think about their faces, little drops of salty emotion rolling down their reddened faces, I get that little choked up feeling in the back of my throat. It's like this is finally hitting me...I'm probably not going to be able to see these AMAZING people face-to-face again unless they come to the US or I for some reason have a chance to come back here. I want to see and talk to them every day. It's these students that make me feel like I not only belong here in Taiwan, but I also maybe belong in the education field. Who knew that this little one-month experience would turn into such an emotional, life-altering thing? I know I didn't.

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