你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,
Last Thursday I started writing this. I was at the time acutely aware you could be reading this on any of the other six days, or most likely, not at all. Print is dead, I hear. It feels like this last week has been tough. No money from two sources that should have paid up by now – and stupid requests to get what is owed. It feels like being taken for granted – and right before summer, where the money is precisionly planned to leave my account for good reasons.
Then, there is the visa nightmare. My CRB (now called Disclosure and Barring Service) application should take 14 days, it shows 23 online and there hasn’t been a reply by Disclosure Scotland, where I applied. I called them. It said on their number to check online. Online it says to call their customer services for problems. I tried that again. It said check online. Catch 22.
So, I fly to the U.K. with a signed contract, but no visa after 13th July 2017. The Foreign Expert Certificate expires on the 30th of August 2017. It will have to be sorted in Manchester or London. Exactly, what I did not want. I’m due back by the 23rd of August 2017. School starts on the 28th of August 2017. The race to return is under way…
Today, no students are at school, a typhoon (Merbok) threatened to impact the city. In fact, the day is grey with mostly calm skies. A few strong gusts last night did little, other than air the city. Better safe than sorry.
School wouldn’t let me make make a farewell speech. Instead, I plan to post this before I fly…
Dao Ming Foreign Language School has been part of my life since February 2014. I landed in a new culture, village and city not knowing how important Dao Ming would be in my life. It has been much, much more than a job. Dao Ming introduced me gently to Chinese cultures, ways of life harsh and poor, to strong and privileged. It opened my eyes to a fast-developing country and gifted me the chance of new friends. From the off, Principla Mr Wang, Bright and Miss Jiang guided me through the gates and allowed me the freedoms to teach oral English and culture. They embraced me from day one and pushed me to be better, despite my lack of singing, dancing and musical talent. To each, I say:
谢谢你给我很多建议.(Xièxie nǐ gěi wǒ hěnduō jiànyì.) Thank you for giving me so many suggestions.
There were days when the transition from a temperate climate to a sub-tropical range drained me. Adjustment took a rather long time. The team of P.E. teachers pushed me on, as did my first batch of foreign teaching colleagues in Esben, James, Liam and Bri. To each teacher that first semester:
当我消沉的时候，你鼓励了我。对此我十分感激。 (Dāng wǒ xiāochén de shíhòu, nǐ gǔlìle wǒ. Duì cǐ wǒ shífēn gǎnjī.) I really appreciate that you helped lift my spirits when I was feeling low.
My colleagues have worked tirelessly along the years and many have sadly moved on to other schools. Some to be closer to home, some to face new challenges and some due to artistic differences. The nature of education does that, but one thing that each and every teacher I have encountered throughout my time has had, is passion and a smile on a Monday morning. Not every Monday, but not far off it. To see each teacher so tired yet to passionate about making a difference, is in my eyes inspiring.
太感谢了(iài gǎn xiè le) So thankful.
In grades 5 this last year, I have worked with Alice, Orchid, Amy and Jack Armstrong. They have bubbled with enthusiasm and encouraged me despite our cultural differences, and our workload being far apart. They are the backbone of English at a most important stage of development. I have seen each teacher improve with every passing month.
万分感谢(wàn fēn gǎn xiè) Ten thousands percent (of) thankfulness.
In previous years, I have taught in Grade 6. Only Nancy now remains, from her once passionate and dedicated team. To her, I say thanks for the gift of remaining so positive and confident. It rubs off on others. She can inspire and lead.
谢谢你的礼物! (Xièxie nǐ de lǐwù!) Thank you for your gift!
In actuality, as it is, right now, I do not feel like writing anything and my ebb is out of flow, yet I know deep down in my heart, I need to express my gratitude for my time at Dao Ming Foreign Language School. It was an opportunity given to me by Worlda International Education. Jessie and Casey right at the start pushed me hard and fast from landing in Guangzhou’s airport to stepping off a sweaty coach in Houjie Square. Things moved quickly, almost like a blur and before long I was in my first class, alone – and in full control. You either sink or swim. I don’t believe I sank. I still believe I am learning to swim. Experience has led me, and instinctive calm supported me, but none of this would have been possible without Worlda presenting the opportunity and relations with Dao Ming Foreign Language School. Kimmie, and Mico have been very hands on, yet hands off in recent times, being there when needed and assisting me with the technicalities of working under foreign laws, rules and regulations.
Then there were colleagues such as Yolanda, Michael, Joy, Keith Tao, Chloe, Christine, Dan, Teresa, Ishit, David, Jessie Wang, Joanna, and Wendy who all assisted me in some shape or form. None will be forgotten. All played their part in this journey of sorts.
非常感谢你的帮助 (Fēicháng gǎnxiè nǐ de bāngzhù) Thank you very much for your help.
The students have always been a joy. Without them there would be no school. There would be no community built closely around the school. There could be no jokes about test and exams on a regular basis with vast descriptions of homework mountains. There surely would not be smiles in sunshine and delight at cooling rains as the harsh summer drains energies. There would be no requests for Acton’s Independent Sweet Store to re-open. To each student:
辛苦你了！(Máfán nǐ le!) Thank you for your hard work!
真不知道该怎么谢你(zhēn bù zhī dào gāi zěn me xiè nǐ) I really don’t know how to thank you.
没有你我该怎么办 (méi yǒu nǐ wǒ gāi zěn me bàn) What would I do without you?!
To everyone, who has been lost, found, confused or clear in working alongside me, I want to say thank you. Please forgive me if I have confused you or even made your stay here blighted by any negative comments about humanity. This is me. I hope I cheered you on. If I didn’t, I certainly tried! To James, Liam, Esben, Bri, Mikkel, Liane, Andreas, Catherine, Emily, Micaela, Kira, Joe, Tess, Arvid, Jack, Beth, Analisa, Josie, Omar, and Alexis.
欠你一个人情 (qiàn nǐ yí gè rén qíng) I owe you one.
To all, I say:
非常感谢你 (fēi cháng gǎn xiè nǐ) thank you very much.
Have I finished in China?
没有没有，还差得远.(Méiyǒu méiyǒu, hái chà dé yuan.) No no, not at all. There is long way to go.
步步高昇 (bù bù gāoshēng): Onwards and upwards.
再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye