Gratitude 2014 – China Friends

This month, leading up to Thanksgiving, I’m expressing my gratitude for people who have influenced me in someway–it’s all about the people. 

Aaron may have been the one to get me to China, but he wasn’t the only friend I had there. My ten months in Hefei are extremely memorable. One of the biggest factors for that are the people I spent time with, so today I express my gratitude for them. The experiences we had together will forever be with me.

Melissa

Little did I know that living two floors below me while at Anhui University would be a fellow Yankee from the same alma mater and with shared religious traditions. This was such a blessing and comfort when things got tough with China. Because believe me, as amazing as it was and as much as I want to go back, there were some annoyances and trials living in such a foreign culture. Melissa quickly became a good friend who accompanied Aaron and I on many adventures and brought a much needed female presence to our cohort. Thank you for making China even more awesome.

Ann and John

I’m so glad we found Ann. I don’t know if she would have made it much longer. She was teaching at a school in downtown Hefei completely unaware that we were around. She had traveled to Nanjing for church meetings a couple of times and that’s where Melissa, Aaron and I met her. Soon after, her husband John joined her for the last of her assignment. They became fun friends and joined us on adventures here and there. I’ll never forget Christmas in Nanjing, watching a curling match or the spectacular week in Guangxi with you, Ann and John. Thank you for enjoying that amazing place with me!

Jamie

Aaron met Jamie at the school where he taught when someone asked him to tutor a young man preparing to study in America. Jamie welcomed us into his home, taught us how to play Mahjong, helped us make delicious dumplings and made my birthday a most memorable one. Thank you for taking your time to be a great host and representative of your homeland.

My Students

I had more than 200 students at AHU, but a few stand out because they went out of their way to befriend me, share their culture with me and practice their English. They include RouRou, Kevin, Brian, Jasmine, Nile, Helen, and many more. Thanks for inviting me to a Chinese theme park, taking me out for hotpot, giving me my first apple as a teacher and participating in class. Thank you for being leaders and helping your classmates engage in the lessons. You made class more effective and exciting.

Countless others made my experience in China a memorable adventure. Thank you to all of them.

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