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Last Goodbyes & The Winds of Change Blow

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

So the old saying goes, Mate, change is in the bloody wind my friend!

Over the past five years I have been living in China I have learned one big lesson and that lesson is the fact that the end of any given school term can bring about changes that you never thought would happen mainly because you had agreed on something such as;

Staying at your school and not leaving half way through a school year. Why? Because it is the right thing for your students....right?

Several days ago I found out that the winds of change had spent a few busy days blowing in my direction. The school took me aside and told me that I wouldn’t be teaching here next term due to the local government wanting to raise the cost of the Foreign Teacher license and that the school is questioning the payment of such a cost. Not wanting to be one caught in the middle of the normal Chinese lengthy discussions I made a decision to cancel the rest of my classes for the term (the next three days) and went home and began cleaning and packing. Don’t be too hard on me for cancelling the classes as all exams finished last week and we are all sick of revision. This week I gave away the rest of my food, most of my DVD’s and other unwanted 'stuff’ that has been laying around for the past year and a half.

Later in the week I was told that there is a 'chance' I could stay. So please don’t pack.

My answer was, no thanks mate as I've been caught in the middle of this kind of thing several times before and there is never a decision made until the last minute and this time I simply refuse to be told at the last minute of my final teaching day that I will not be here next term. I also refuse to use my holiday time packing and cleaning so this time everything was packed and cleaned prior to my last minute and tomorrow I will be joined by Dutch Andre and we’ll share a few too many beers at the local youth hostel and all my belongings will be taken to a friends in Xian and I will wait until the end of my holidays to worry about where I will be next term.

I am not going to work on the word 'chance'. This is why I sign with a middle man such as Buckland’s.

The first time this happened was at the end of my third term in Guangxi I stupidly believed the school when they told me that there was a big chance that I would be staying. My gut instinct told me that I would not be staying and that there was no chance but I never listened to myself. Of course the last minute of the last day of term came and I was told to pack and that the schools Leaders would divide my next entire year’s salary between themselves.

I then had to waste a week of my holidays packing and cleaning. Back then though I was far too nieve and had far too much ‘stuff’.

Now I have only my 45 Litre pack which is for my clothes BUT this time along with my clothes it also allowed for my deliciously new 15 Inch QOSMIO laptop along with my little Blue Ray 'plays it all' DVD player and believe it or not a pair of shoes too. Secondly I have my small 25 litre travel pack which houses two sets of travel clothes, my Lonely Planet and my tiny travel computer. Thirdly I have my teaching case that houses a year and a half’s worth of lessons and songs which is damn heavy but hey, what can you do, it's all for the kids!

All up they take about 30 minutes to unpack and a few hours to pack! How many people can fit their life including working and travelling into three small packs!

The last few days have been spent in a sad kind of heaven as I spent yesterday (Friday) in a teary yet joyful goodbye celebration with my buddy Chen Miao who surprised me by arriving early morning and then taking me out for a huge hot pot lunch after which we spent many hours snuggled on my couch watching her favourite hero Bond, James Bond! Prior to our last goodbye I handed her the keys to that which means to most to me, the lock to my heart and also the one that secures what is now hers, my beloved bicycle. Over the past year and a half she has borrowed it on many occasions and it is something that for many years to come she will never be able to afford and now happily she owns a piece of me that she can ride at will.

My last night here in Shangzhou was spent with my beloved Alisa whom I will miss dearly. We hung out at home for the afternoon and then headed out for a walk and a huge fish dinner.

I did make a promise with myself NOT to tell anyone that I was leaving but at the end of each day I ran across many of my students and had both Chen Mioa and Alisa explain to them that I would not be their teacher next term and that they would probably not have a foreign teacher. That went just as I expected….it ended in tears. For those who come to China on a Foreign Teacher Holiday the fact is you do leave behind you a trail full of broken hearts no matter what age. I spend a year and a half with my students and I see them five days a week so I guess it's pointless to tell you that as each year passes, as each school passes and as each life term passes it actually gets harder to leave the place I have been in.

This time if I did have a choice I would stay as Chen Miao and I have been spending a lot of time together and next term things could have been beautiful for the both of us. Also next term brings a new foreign player to the Teachers College who also loves a beer or six so it really sucks for Filipino Daniel, Dutch Andrew, new Cameroon Guy, Alisa, and Chen Miao and I!

I guess also that as the Tote Hotel in Melbourne, Australia closes its doors also another couple of doors in the life of me close. How exciting though that new adventures await and I have no idea where I'll be travelling over the next month or so as I'm leaning towards Guizhou more than Guangdong now and as for teaching next term I am pretty sure I will be still here in Shaanxi Province and MAYBE sharing a few too many beers with Aussie Brad in Angkang city which is another few hours south from where I am now.

Life my friends is one hell of a wicked adventure! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: The photos for this entry are from the past or should I say LAST two weeks of my life here in Shangzhou city in Shaanxi Province in Northern China. The class shots are from last several week’s exams and how better to have your students try their hardest than to take a picture of the hardest working and quietest students during their exam. You have no idea how well it works. PSS: Others are from a beautiful dinner the four Chinese English Teachers at my school put on for me during which we had so much fun together, so much so that we surprised ourselves and left wondering why we never thought of doing it before. PSSS: The rest are with Chen Miao (huge beautiful smile with soup) and Alisa (with Koala in hand) along with the last few weekends in Xian city where I caught up, had dinner and one night far too many beers and long island iceteas with Lithuanian Laima, Scottish Kirsten and my delicious friend Angel. PSSSS: to my Facebook family and friends, there will be no Facebook until I unpack in my new school as I haven't been able to find and download any sneaky software onto my travelling computer.

LASTLY: Tomorrows awakenings bring with them new beginnings and new adventures. I will move everything I own to Xian share joyous laughter and good times with Andre, delicious Angel and hopefully meet Chen Miao for some beautiful moments before purchasing my ticket south to...? ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Archie Roach The album was the amazing ‘Looking For Butterboy’ ____________________________________________________________

Wings of Change & Last Goodbyes

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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