I really wish I could have recorded every word that was said to me today and yesterday. My five week stay has come to an end and it is time for good byes. They are never easy but always so genuine and kind. I had lunch and dinner with students and left my front door open all day. They came in through my front door and out again leaving the scent of flowers behind them. I tell them their words are like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. When they say their kind words the fragrance lingers forever in my heart. The memories they shared of our classes together and the things they learned were reaffirming I was here for a purpose and they got it.
One group of students was there in the early afternoon and we all started yawning. One of them said “we all should take a rest because your home feels so warmly.” What is that I asked? “It means we’re so comfortable here with you it is like home. “ My apartment has a little kitchen, a living room and dining room and two bedrooms and 2 baths. It is a comfortable place to be. It has bare walls, no pictures, no rugs or plants and Knick knacks to make it feel homey, just pieces of furniture. I realized in that moment it’s not the beautiful décor we put on or walls, floors and shelves that make it feel like home. It’s our presence. My apartment in China is my home and the students recognized it as such with what I bring to it. At the count of three I went to my room to rest and the others curled up on the chairs and couch. It was nap time.
I had some new members to the academy come visit and remind me that I interviewed them. They brought gifts of course and said they wanted to be with me as much as possible because they just met me. It is such a funny feeling when they say such things. They said their words cannot express in English what they feel when they are with me because it is such a strong feeling. They kept trying to come up with the words and got frustrated and finally said “we just love you and want you to stay.”
After many loving visits and gifts we had a going away party in the outdoor amphitheater. When we entered the stage there was a large heart shape of lit candles waiting for us to stand in the middle while they sang friendship songs and happy birthday. As tears ran down my cheeks I could feel my heart was bursting with joy and love for these amazing men and women.
We played a game where we yelled out a number between 1 and 10, they had to quickly run into a huddle of that number of people. If there were stragglers left they had to stand in the middle of the stage and share a message, dance or sing. We got all three. It was really fun. Then we ate cake and the students find it very entertaining to smear cream on each other from the cake. We all had cold cream faces by the end of the evening and no make up left from the tears. The men and women came up and expressed their thanks and what they loved and learned from me and the others facilitators. Many of them gave little trinket gifts. I imagine a lot of the gifts they gave were ones given to them at one time.
I am at a loss of words like them. How can I translate the warm feelings in my heart? There are not words adequate to describe the love I have felt these past weeks in China. What have I found? I have learned how to love and be loved, share and accept, be open and available and present to each moment, and each gift that comes through my open door.