Final Experiences at Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, Lin’an, China
We had a wonderful, eye-opening year at ZAFU, and the final months were no exception. As the Fall 2011 school begins there for another term, Barry and I are still on our way home to Maui to see friends and take care of business there. However, we were busy our last months in Lin’an.
Unlike the graduations in the U.S., the ZAFU students don’t have an official ceremony. Instead, some present a variety program and get to be on stage in their caps and gowns.
Some seniors rented graduation gowns and took photos with their friends. Many went out to eat with their friends and family.
We got invited to Amanda’s family party to see her off to Sydney, Australia. Her mom is going with her to make sure she is well cared for as Amanda seeks a job.
Amanda’s uncle, a former university teacher, now a stock broker, picked us up in a new Mercedes Benz. The uncle’s son was there too. He has been in a boarding school since he was five-years old with both Chinese and English teachers in order to prepare to go to university in England–Cambridge this fall. The other younger cousins are all on track to go to good universities too.
Besides the turtle selections 😦 , we were offered plenty of other tasty dishes. Amanda and her family are loving, hard-working, ambitious people. We’ve been happy to help Amanda improve her English skills.
We also got invited to Becky’s birthday party. This turned out to be a big event. Although Barry and I knew we were going to a barbecue, when we got to the ZAFU West Gate where we were to meet, we found we were to go by bus and many of Becky’s and Ryan’s students were coming too. They have been teaching at ZAFU for two years and know many students. Ryan had been cooking for much of the day.
The students were ready for a celebration; they wanted to be part of Becky’s birthday party and most had just finished their final exams.
Becky and Ryan shared potato salad, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Everyone had fun.
Barry and I said lots of goodbye and attended several end-of-the-year events such as the final Crazy English club meeting for the year.
We had our final Saturday movie night. After our movie discussion and cookies, we gave away our collected supply of movies including ones Patrick contributed, so everyone was able to take one home. Barry and I have really enjoyed this regular Saturday event as a great way to share cultural insights.
Other teachers invited us over to say goodbye.
Mark, the teacher from Pittsburgh, organized (and cooked like mad) for a goodbye party for the five of us foreign teachers leaving ZAFU. Morton got a job in Hangzhou; Sarah is leaving to organize her wedding; Sarah Jean will probably teach in South Korea, and Drew will return to school in the U.S. We all met at Cindy’s Pizza.
I got to have special goodbyes with special students.
We said goodbye to special people including –
We had a short, intense summer school session, so I got to say and extra goodbye to many of my wonderful students who I’ve taught during the year. In the three-hour sessions, I got to share topics close to my heart:
Travel — how to do it cheaply. Since many of these students will be able to travel the world, Barry and I wanted to give them hints.
Topic two was health:
Of course, the students had time to talk in these oral English classes:
The summer temperatures were high in these classrooms that have no air-conditioning. (One of the teachers said it got up to 113 degrees one afternoon). However, Barry and I had fun and will miss these terrific students.
The day before we left Lin’an, we finally got to meet the dean and his family in whose apartment we lived from August to March. They had been in Stockton, California, where Shane has been working on his Ph.D., his wife teaching Mandarin, and Zack going to a public elementary school.
Spending the school year at ZAFU has been a wonderful experience. You could do it too. Think about it. Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée