It’s Hard to Say Goodbye, My Love

This was our last week in Chengdu, and all the emotions were had this week.

Monday, class was mysteriously postponed until 1:30 and placed in a different location. When we got there, we were sent on a scavenger hunt to find a mystery location. After pestering every local we could find, we eventually came to – a KTV?

Yes, all of our teachers were waiting in a big KTV room and I can officially say that I have had class in a karaoke bar. We sang Chinese songs (badly) and persuaded all of our teachers into dueting or soloing for us. There was a mahjong board in the other room so we alternated between singing (badly) and playing (badly) and it was utterly marvelous.

For the rest of the week, we finished up classes and began the arduous task of packing. We had our final project, where we were split into groups and awkwardly filmed interacting with locals. My group involved ordering food at a restaurant and I really felt badly for our poor waitress, who was clearly alarmed by the teacher hovering with the video camera in the background. I guess we did okay though, because she did respond to everything we said and brought us food.

I also had my final interview with Deng laoshi – 25 minutes of conversation. She asked me about the trips and experiences I had while in China and what I was planning on doing once I got back to the states. She insisted on seeing a picture of my mother and my boyfriend since I said I was planning on spending a lot of time with them. Though she ooed over how pretty my mom is (and rightfully so), she really freaked over the picture of my boyfriend since he’s got this conspicuous curly red hair that’s virtually unheard of in China. It was really quite entertaining, and I really felt like my speaking and comprehension had truly improved.

In between the packing, I did have to say some pretty painful goodbyes. Saying goodbye to the street vendor who had consistently sold me my favorite rice/chicken/vegetable concoction multiple times a week was much more emotional than I had expected. Though we never learned each other’s names, he would always ask about my day and I’d ask about his and we achieved an unusual sort of friendship. When I told him I was leaving for America and I wasn’t coming back, he seemed really upset and couldn’t understand why I didn’t know when I was coming back. I also had to say goodbye to my language partner – we’d met consistently each week and we had some really interesting conversations about the different governments and the political and social structures we both dealt with. I’m really going to miss both of them.

Even saying goodbye to the guy who so happily embraced our laundry once a week was bittersweet.

Our last Friday most of us decided to go to one of the Chinese bars nearby as a way of saying good-bye to each other and the memories made on the trip. Even though I could legally drink, I didn’t really and chose to instead dance with the great friends I had made and enjoy the night. I feel like this bar spoiled any other American bar since this one played “YMCA”, “Let it Go”, and featured an enthusiastic Chinese man singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and really, that’s my kind of bar.

Celebrating Christmas in June,

康愛梅

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