You guessed it, it’s graduation time!
I went to two graduations in this past week. The first one, was my 9th graders from Dong Guang. They are officially done with Junior High School. In Taiwan, graduating 9th grade is almost like graduating 12th grade in America. They will now go all over the place to different senior high schools (like college in America), so they were very emotional and sad since it would be their last time all together. Anyway, I had no idea what was going on, because it was all in Chinese of course. Luckily, Yuan Chi found me after about 15 minutes and started to translate the ceremony. Then, I went to say hi to my class, sign yearbooks, and take pictures! The ceremony was actually really nice, they sang lots of songs and all the teachers gave them advice on moving forward. It was very similar to an American graduation, but very short. I was told there were performances and things the night before, so it was in two parts to make it shorter sittings. I was happy about that, because it was hot!
Also this week at Dong Guang, I had my last English club. I did a cool activity with them about what a week of groceries looks like in all different countries. I thought it was a good last international wrap up. And I thought it was really cool myself, so I figured they would enjoy it too, and they did! After our activity, I bought my club a cake. So we ate and they all made me thank you/goodbye cards so they all came to read them to me and take pictures! See below!
Then, back to Su-Ao, my 6th graders graduated this week! After a slight train debacle (40 minutes delayed!), I made it to the graduation with seconds to spare! I sat with Yu-Fang and Sophie, so they could both tell me exactly what was going on, which was nice. First, we watched a slide show that the 6th graders made, and my favorite 6th grade girl made a slide for me! Too cute! This graduation was much longer than Dong Guang, because they gave so many awards. Every student got an award (or 5), and to receive the award, the group of students would get up on stage and someone important (a politician, or a local principal, or a donor) would shake their hand, bow, then a 5th grader would come out with the gift on a tray, the VIP would take the gift, present it to the 6th grader, then bow again. They would do this all the way down the line, before standing in front of all the students for yet another bow. Then, they need to take a picture. So each award ends up taking like 15 minutes to present, making for over 3 hours of graduation. Bleh.
But, then there was time for the students to give flowers to teachers, and I was inundated. So many flowers! I don’t really know what to do with them, but it was still nice! Again, I took lots of pictures with every student ever, including some younger siblings I have never even met! It’s going to be weird going back to America and just being one in a million again. I stand out so much here, which I don’t especially love, but I’m now used to it. I’m used to being stared at and having strangers want to take a picture with me. But, in just one week, I will be average again! ): Sad.
Anyway, I missed the last train, so Shendy (the music teacher) drove me back to Luodong. This meant, my bike was still at Su-Ao, so I had to walk from the train station to school the next morning. I get half way, when someone pulls their scooter over next to me. Normally, I hate this because it’s someone coming to stare at me or a stranger saying hi. But, a woman stops and asks me, “You’re going to Su-Ao Elementary, right?” Of course, she speaks not a word of English, so I respond in my minimal Chinese, that yes, I am. Then, she asks where my bike is. I tell her it’s at school, so she stands up, takes out a second helmet, hands it to me, and tells me to get on! Now, in America, that’s a big no no. A stranger telling me to get on their motorcycle, I’d book it the other direction. But, here in Taiwan, this is normal and totally fine. So, I got on, and she brought me all the way to school! Perfect example of why I love Taiwan and the Taiwanese people.
On top of graduation, I also had my last story telling with my 2nd graders. They are the cutest, so it was especially sad ): Two of my second grade classes came to the English classroom to say their goodbyes, take pictures and give hugs. See the cuteness for yourself below.
I really can’t believe it’s almost all over. It still doesn’t seem real that in just over a week, I’ll be back in America and this whole year in Taiwan will just be a memory. This is my life now and it’s so crazy to think it will all be so different. Everything I do this week, will be the last time. Unbelievable!