(Gave all my students red packets full of chocolate)
The semester is drawing to an end before we welcome and the whole country goes on holiday for Chinese New Year. There is something so special about “firsts” and my first semester of teaching in China is something I foresee as always being incredibly meaningful in my life. My students, ages 4-11, have put in so much hard work this semester between the rolling of the eyes and “teacher no homework” complaints. My littles have learned to write the alphabet, blend sounds and read while my older students have learned to crank out five page essays like it’s nothing. I have been told dolphins look like me, pictures have been drawn of me dying by shark attack or explosion and I have gotten all the little squishy hugs. I have learned the art of bribing by stickers, taught them various high-five games to keep them focused and can shut their “bad behavior” with my famous glare. I have assured all the parents that their kids are wonderful and making progress (except that one kid who never does his homework….just kidding. He’s a doll). And most of all I have absolutely LOVED this first semester. I decided to write reflect and write a note to all my students.
While in Hanoi, Vietnam I had a morning off from work and decided to meander around the city and see where my feet took me with no conscious plans in mind other than writing and enjoying the day. My feet ended up taking me through the twisted streets of the Old Quarter and up a floor to the balcony of a vegan restaurant where I sat perched outside writing and drinking a blended green juice. Wanting to capture the moment, I went back inside and asked the first person I saw (there were only four people there) if it would be okay if he took a picture for me. Here enters Trent. Trent was one of two bearded men in the restaurant (the other one was wearing plaid) and had he been there a moment too late or soon, I would have gone with the other lumberjack. I’m so glad Trent was there when he was. We soon discovered that we were one of the same and had kindred souls. I have never had a conversation with anyone ever where we immediately were thinking and conversing on the same wavelength. It was inspiring and a unicorn moment to say the least. After realising that Trent was a fascinating and compelling person after a hot minute, I asked if I could intentionally interview him.