“Miss Niech, will you go home for Spring Holiday?” This is a question I have gotten on a weekly basis since arriving in China. After responding no, the next question is usually, “well, when will you go home?” When I explain that I will not go home until 2016, their eyes get wide with concern that I will not go home to my family. “Don’t you miss your family?” They ask. “You must go home,” they insist. As first year students who have never lived away from home and never been out of the country, let alone Ningxia, being away from family so long is inconceivable. Sometimes I feel like they get more homesick then I do (actually they definitely do).
So when my students found out that my birthday was coming up they were eager to celebrate with me.
Then, dinner with Class 4! Barbecue and karaoke! #ChinEnglishProblems
Initially I thought these celebrations were just a kind gesture as their teacher. But as I talked with the students and received their words of celebration they all desired to make me feel happy away from home. Their own yearning for family back at home became an outpouring of love and wanting to be my family. Never before have I had such an extravagant birthday, never before have I felt so celebrated and loved by people who have known me for such a short amount of time. My students are quite a blessing and I have no words to thank them enough.
Similarly, Thank you to everyone around the world who wished me birthday greetings! Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. Here is to another year!