Goodbyes and Mixed Emotions

Today was a day of mixed feelings for both the volunteers and teachers.  My students told me that they will be happy to be home with their families but sad that our time together is done.  I will be happy to see my friends and family again but sad that I will leave the teachers.  We have become friends and I will miss them very much.

This morning we had class for 1.5 hours.  The closing ceremony started at 10:15. There were speeches from officials, a student representative, Baoli and the volunteers.  We were all happy to receive a polo shirt from the university, a group photo and a CD of pictures throughout the two weeks.  We also received a certificate for our several years of volunteering in Kunming.  Our years of experience in Kunmingstretch from three to five years. The volunteers then sang two goodbye songs that Dixie and Nancyhad cleverly prepared.

Students received certificates of completion and we had somewhat of an idea of what it was like to be a celebrity after students took pictures of us and asked us to sign their certificates.  Dixie and Nancy led several dances in which volunteers, students and Baoli participated enthusiastically.

We then were whisked away to a wonderful restaurant with some of the university officials.  We were toasted with glasses of Yunnan Red and we feasted on delicious dishes.  The VIP room was dedicated to the American Flying Tigers who “flew the Hump (Himalayas)” from India to Kunmingduring World War II.

We started to pack and had a light supper.  The two weeks have flown by.  We all agreed we had a wonderful experience and hope to return to Kunmingnext June. Zaijain!           

– Jim
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