Friday, August 13, 2010

Today is the last full day in Kunming. Because I have not walked around much by myself around the area, I decided to take a trip myself. The days in Kunming are beautiful, except for sudden rains in the middle of sunny days. After my short walk, we started the day off in with an unusually cheerful breakfast.

Because today is the last day at the Kunming University, we had our final celebration. Marissa, who is in charge of arranging schedules for the final celebration, picked a total of six songs for us to perform. Although we do not have strong vocal chords like the couples in the Dehong prefecture, we were excited to sing our songs and celebrate our days together.

We headed off to the University in a shorter route than usual. When we arrived, we went off to start our last lesson, which would end approximately an hour earlier. Today’s class was exceptionally enjoyable. We spent only about fifteen minutes quickly going over some idioms and quotations and dove into role – playing. The students seem to enjoy this game very much. We set up scenarios, such as having students playing parents of Sean and me. We ended the class at ten fifteen on a good note – singing “You Raise me Up” and “Take me to your Heart”.

After the shortened class, all students and teachers went into a “meeting hall” for the final celebration. Because the directors of education of Kunming have not arrived yet, the classes each performed what they have prepared. The class taught by Bill and Marissa performed first. A lovely, outgoing student named Tanya did a graceful flowy Chinese dance, which the rest of the class sang to. I made sure to tape it on my iPod. The next class, taught by Lee and Helene, sang Auld Lang Syne, English and then in Chinese. Finally, my class went up and sang a beautiful song while doing sign language. The song is named “Thank you” and their sincerity almost brought tears to my eyes.

Now it was our turn. We may have not been very loud, but our spirits were up in the air. We sang the following songs: America the Beautiful, Good Bye Teachers, This land is Your Land, It’s a Small World, Clementine, and an old, and cute Chinese song named “Kan Guo Lai” just with Marissa and me. We also recited a poem, “We are Global Volunteers”, which had the words “We will always love our English teachers dear and hope we see you over here or over there”.

Just then, the directors of education in Kunming arrived. Thank goodness that some people moved the chairs for them to sit. The speeches were short and sweet. But the real sweet part of the speeches was when all of a sudden, they called all the volunteers up to the stage. They presented us individually with a box of expensive Pu’er tea, a CD of pictures, and a colorful “man bag”. The closing ceremony was not over just yet. Just as I was starting to pack up my belongings, about fifteen students came running to where I was with one hand, their certificate, and the other, a black pen. I first started signing all the certificates with my Korean name, English name and my Chinese name but as the piles of certificates got higher, I only started to write my English and Chinese names.

After hugs and photographs, we headed to have lunch with the leaders. The food, of course, was delicious, but I thought the sliced bamboo sticks were a little hard, until I realized I have to peel the surface numerous times before it is edible.

Any how, in this trip, I’m sure all the global volunteers have not only accomplished our initial goals, but made friendships and memories that will last forever. These last two weeks flew by and I would love to come back to the Yunnan province to see the students’ lovely smiling faces again.

– Grace

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