I only realised in the middle of class the other night that it's National Children's Day. During the break I ran across to the shop to buy pop and sweets with which to play party games (for 17 year-olds) with the remainder of the lesson (and to preserve my lesson plan).
Last year, Children's Day fell shortly after the Principal of my School died. The behaviour of some Students that night led me to believe that I would never be able to control a class, and some classes would never be controlled.
The other night, as always, I was anxious and fired-up in the build up to lessons. Then, just before going into the classroom, one of the more advanced and confident Students asked me onto the balcony of my office to say, in halting English, that her and her classmates were very sad that I would be leaving soon.
It's particularly gratifying in China to be liked and wanted for who are and what you've done, rather than what you represent to people. So on that sentiment, I'll sign off with the ever tangential WB Yeats:
When You Are Old
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.