One of the benefits of sticking around this summer is spending time with people I probably wouldn’t see otherwise. Case in point? Last night I went out with 6 former students.
A few had just graduated, but most had graduated a year before. They were some of the first students I met here, and were among the ones who initially made this job so awesome for me. They were the little cute sophomores that asked naive questions and had barely any experience of taking care of themselves. Now they are working adults with apartments, full-time jobs and lots of living under their belts.
All of them are teaching English at private English language schools. Summer is the busy time, and while they are all working about 8 hours a day (with no days off) we found time to catch up last night after class finished. We went to a quiet coffee shop to talk, hear about each others life, and reminisce. They’ve known me the entire time I’ve been in China so it was really awesome to talk about former teachers, former students and old times.
To see them grow-up, from the kids they used to be to the adults they are now, makes me feel old. But in a good way. I played only a small part in their lives, but I felt really proud, seeing them last night all grown up, managing jobs and life. Like a mama hen and her chicks.
I’m often surprised at the path my life has taken. Like the old, “10 years ago if you told me I would live in China for more than 5 years I’d never have believed you,” kinda thing. And last night another thought struck me. If you told me when I arrived in China that 4 years later I would be hanging out with my little cute students in Hangzhou drinking tea at 11 o’clock at night, I’d never believe you. And yet…