Monday, December 11, 2006

The Last Post

From China and to China, This is Henry saying "Goodbye" "Adios" "Au revoir" "Auf Wiedersehen" "再见".

The sun is setting for me in China. I will soon be high in the sky, flying away on my jet plane. I have written an offline diary - a little more detailed than the blog. I was reading it this morning. Looking back to 90 days ago, it seems like yesterday but also a lifetime ago. I think I have changed more as a person.

Sunset Flying Home

Sunset on China; Leaving on a Jetplane

It's interesting. I suppose for me the really different part of life here has been how people treat me. Unlike at home, I am far from anonymous. In the school, almost everyone knows me as I have taught over 2/3 of the classes in the school (that is 28 classes at 45 students per class - about 1000 students overall). Without exception, everyone is extraordinarily kind. The best word to describe people here is gracious. Polite, friendly, warm-hearted, welcoming, generous. It is a special experience to be treated like this - consistently and genuinely for 3 months. I suppose it is the experience of having all of these people really like having you around. It has to change the way you think about yourself. I think returning to the anonymity of life in the UK will be the greatest reverse culture shock.

But oh, the excitement to come. When that plane lands on British soil, I will be moving into a new stage of my life. 'The Rest' I call it. The prologue to this story is now definitely over. Welcome to Chapter 1. It's going to be an exciting ride.

My closing advice to the students in all my classes is the best advice for me too:

Make Mistakes
Take Opportunities

Every day, do something that scares you


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