As we made preparations and began teaching "last classes" this past week, I have been reflecting on the past two years and the changes that have occurred in my students. It is with a full heart I see them reach out to hug me and kiss my cheek, when two years ago, they were so shy and frightened to show any emotion, let alone look at, or embrace a foreigner!
It is with a heavy heart that I go to my classes and face these dear people which have become family to me. As I enter the classroom, I feel sad, knowing that it will be the last time I will see many of them! I look in their eyes and see the hope of youth, with all the expectations and dreams which youth posses. What a blessed person I am, having known each one of them, yet so aware of the responsibility which is mine - to be the example my Father in heaven expects of me. The spirit here in China is very real and we have felt our Father's hand in everything we have done. It has truly been an experience of a lifetime and we are so thankful to have been a part of the BYU China Teachers Program.
As our students say, "I hope you have a happy everyday and I'm very miss you!"
With much love,
Mom and Dad
P.S. I am also sending a few "last class photo's."
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This is James Yang - Love this kid...
Here is a sweet email from him:
Subject: Thank you very much!!
To: Jane Halladay
Dear Mrs Halladay,
Thank you for that you have been my teacher for two years . We have a lot of sweet memories . There is one saying "Only you have lost it ,then you know how you love it.".It's just like you . Now we know how we like you . We will never forget you . You teach me think ,sing and write . You use your own method to effect us . Thank you .
Today in the class I want to ask you ,if you don't mind if I say your age ,like you ,in such an old age , how can you come to China to teach us with enthusiasm. I always think if I was in such an age ,what would I do . I think your life just is a legend . Sometimes when you tell us your experience,your famliy and your children . You never know how I admire you . I would like follow your step to taste the life .However ,I know I have my own life . Thank you for teaching me you should smile to your life , others and yourself.
Thank you !
Much love ,
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I just had to write and tell you about Jordan, one of my Post Graduates from last year... I haven't seen her for about 6 months, due to the fact that her class is now studying in a hospital as well as working with the Doctors in that same hospital.
She usually comes to visit with Ronnie (a girl) Simon, Edward and Never. I can't even remember the last time they all came together to see us.
I need to give a little background on Jordan, so I will remember her and you will have an idea about her and her personality. She comes from a poor family. Her father is a "worker" and her mother has a shop which sells fresh flowers. Jordan is a very serious girl and looks very serious at all times. Her determination to be the best student in her class comes because she is very aware that females traditionally do not make good doctors and academically they usually are not as smart or serious about their studies as their male counterparts. She is not one to smile often or laugh and giggle. She is in school to achieve and be the best in the class! Whenever I would hug her goodbye she always "held back."
Yesterday Doris called us and ask if she could drop in and see us for a little while
and we were delighted. She said that Jordan was with her and we were especially
happy. I was not prepared for the welcome we both received from our dear little Jordan. As she entered the apartment she walked immediately to me and put her arms around me and kissed me repeatedly. She held my face in her hands and looked very closely into my eyes, almost as if she couldn't believe she was seeing me. She just kept looking in my eyes and kissing me repeatedly. Then she kissed my neck and held my hand, as if I might escape. Needless to say, I was astonished. Then, she hugged and kissed Dad and kept touching him and looking in his eyes. She then ask him if she could rub his head, something she has always wanted to do! The look on her face is something I will never forget and it touched us both. Tears came to my eyes and she kept telling me that she didn't want me to be sad and ask me to promise her I wouldn't cry. As we sat on the sofa, she whispered to me and told me that I understood her like no one else ever has. She said there is not a Chinese person or family member who understands her like I do! Needless to say, I was flattered. And then she told me something that really made the tears come to my eyes! She said, "Mrs. Halladay, you have changed me for the better and I will never be the same because of you and no one has had a bigger effect on my life than you."
She went on to say that I had told her something once that changed her life...
It was: "don't ever take yourself too seriously, no one else does."
I sat close to her on the sofa and she held my hand as if I might escape. I could hardly believe that this was the same Jordan I taught a year ago... She has matured and she is at the top of her class! She told me that someday she would come to the U.S.A. to see me AND I know she will. She kept rubbing my hand and holding it and looking at it. I mentioned that my hand is an "old" hand and she just smiled and kept rubbing it and looking at me and smiling.
We were on our way to May 4th Square and they escorted us down to the front gate
of Qingdao University, and she held my hand, with our fingers entwined.
I felt very cherished and special yesterday and as Dad and I talked about her visit, we both felt the the profound change in Jordan. All day I have reflected on her visit and I still feel the "magic" of Jordan...
It made me think, with reverence and humility, that the things I have been teaching and everything I have said and done for the past two years possibly DO make a difference..
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Well this is the last week of teaching school for us and I have been very melancholy and sad. When I look in their eyes and see the trust and love they have for me, it is very humbling. They totally trust me and they have given their love to me with no restraint.
Last Thursday night Dan's class invited us to a class party. It was a humid, rainy night and we had to climb four flights of stairs BUT my dear Rocke and Habby met us at the door and escorted us up the steps. I baked peanut butter cookies and put a big Hershey's kiss candy on each cookie for them. They were so excited when they saw that we had brought a treat and as we walked into the room, they were singing a song for us - "My Love" by Westlife. I stood there with tears running down my cheeks and it was hard to get a grip on my emotions. We played two games and we both participated! I played the "apple" game and Dad played the "drawing" game. I had to stand behind my partner - Dan, close my eyes and hold an apple for him to eat. The twosome who finished their apple first was the winner. Needless to say, we were not the winners! As punishment we had to sing for the audience. Dad's game was for him to draw a face on the blackboard blindfolded, with a girl telling him where to draw what. They were not the losers, therefore they did not have to perform. Dad and I had copied the words to some American songs, and we all sang together. We even sang a duet for them and they cheered and clapped for us. Your old Dad has turned out to be a real singer for the Chinese. Somehow, I can't imagine either of us singing for anyone in the USA like we do for these special people who appreciate every little thing we do! As we left the building, walking down the black steps WITH NO LIGHTING, my sweet Dan and Rocke held my arms so I wouldn't fall. It was like walking down steps blindfolded! They all stood on the steps telling us goodnight as we walked away and my heart felt full.
Today I taught my last class! It was something I have dreaded since I started teaching in China... As I looked in those dear faces - faces I have grown to love so dearly - I thought my heart would break. I kept telling myself not to think about leaving and I managed to do it! Our lesson was on "choices" as they are preparing for the CET4 test.
Oh my, my old heart may just break this time...... As I walked up the street, away from building #2, I tried to remember the first day I walked down the street to building #1, room 509 for my first class as a BYU China Teacher. I recalled all the fears I felt. I remember the feeling of walking into that classroom and seeing 30 Chinese students glancing at me with wonder in their eyes but never really allowing me to "catch" their eye. When I spoke, they all bowed their heads. I sang a song and I will never forget the looks in their eyes as I sang. They looked at me as if I was TOTALLY crazy and I loved it!!!! As I walked out of the classroom that day, I realized that this is what I have been searching for, all my life! This fulfillment, this total trust, this adoration, this reaction, this joy! I knew that day the Lord had been preparing me for this for a long time and I knew that it would be a life changing experience for me. Every day in China has been a joy and I can honestly say that I have never regretted going to class to be with my students.
I have taken up a new hobby! I am learning, in the last two weeks in China, how to play the Chinese flute! Am I crazy or what? I have wanted to do this for a long time and the opportunity presented itself to me, and I took it! My friend, Tang ( pronounced Tong) is an expert flute player and I ask him about teaching me and he jumped at the chance to try teaching this old gal! I don't think he realized what he was getting himself in for!!! May I say that it is definitely hard to teach an old dog new tricks! Enough said... But, I will continue to try my best. Merlene said that she fully expects to be invited to Cedar City for a concert, presented by me as the soloist, playing my Chinese flute. I told her that I would have Barbara Shakespear accompany me on the ukulele!!!! ha ha ha
Life is good. We have SO much to be thankful for and the Lord loves us very much. We realize our many blessings every day in this country which is so different from ours. We do not take our freedoms for granted and we are grateful for our freedom of choice as well. We realize how precious our family is and they are the reason we are here on the earth - they are our joy.
We look forward to returning home, even if our parting here will be so difficult. It is absence that makes the heart grow fonder.
Until we see you all again...
All our love,
Mom and Dad