Waking up in my bed and I still can’t believe it’s already 16th December---- the last day of this semester. It seems as if our students were just arrived yesterday and we were going to show them around the campus this morning. However, it’s time to say goodbye…
In this semester’s first blog we talked about how our students made successfully transition living here in a complete new environment and culture, they did a great job especially for those who studied abroad for the first time. We organized a variety of cultural activities, which to a large extent, made those transitions much easier and helped them engage in local society and lives. Two of their favorites are our excursions and festival celebration.
“Huangshan was a must for me when I came to China. When I arrived in Nanjing, I immediately asked the CIEE staff how to get to Huangshan, then it soon became a class trip that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the best teachers and program administrators in the world. I’m very thankful for them coming with us and being great, energetic people who constantly love on us and help us improve our Chinese. In short, we all had an amazing weekend and Huangshan is a world wonder.”---- Sam Trizza
Undoubtedly, we were all deeply impressed by its breathtaking view especially its four distinguishing features: Sea of Clouds(云海), Hot Springs(温泉), Unique Pines(奇松), and Unique Stones(怪石). But what we value most is the memorable experiences we had. Thinking about conquering the most fabulous mountain by climbing for 8 hours, we were all exhausted but we eventually made it. Or can you imagine waking up in 4am on top of the mountain to witness the sunrise? Everyone was totally frozen but it was definitely worth it.
So was our overnight excursion to the Silk Road. I still remember one of our students wrote in his journal, other than all those scenery sites such as the Great Mosque where religion brings people together, the world’s eighth wonder---- Terra-Cotta Warriors, or riding camels among sing sand dunes in the Gobi Desert, they were actually all those precious moments we experienced together that mattered.
The other highlight, our students can hardly forget are our Thanksgiving celebrations. Why I use plural? Because we actually celebrated three times! The first time was in our resident director Fu Laoshi’s house on Thanksgiving Day. With a big turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pines and other traditional thanksgiving food, we ate, sang and danced, one of our students even said it's the best Thanksgiving food he ever had. The second was a Friendsgiving celebration in our lounge Room 608.
The third and the final one was in our language teacher Zhu Laoshi’s house. Not only US students but also their Chinese roommates were invited and each one cooked his or her specialty for other CIEE Nanjing family members. That day was a real challenge for our stomach as we kept eating from morning to afternoon. By the end of that day, our stomachs were filled with nachos, tacos, pumpkin pine, apple square, red bean soup and lamb BBQ.
After we’ve been through all these, we are not just students and teachers or US students and Chinese roommates, but are more like a family now. We cooked for our loved ones, we shared happiness, and we supported each other and made memories.
Thank you guys for this incredible semester! It’s hard to say goodbye. But no matter where you are, geographical distance wouldn’t separate us from each other because a family for 3½ months is a family forever.