Saturday, July 11, 2009

It’s hard to say goodbye

In 2 weeks, Erik and I will be leaving Owase, our home for the past year.

It’s not easy, because there are a number of people whom I have grown to love during our time here and whom I know I may never get to meet again for a very long time.

It gets even harder when the kids I teach start getting emotional about my leaving. Every time a school holds a farewell ceremony for me and the kids and teachers are singing at the top of their voices, I find myself trying very hard to fight back the tears.

I was most touched during the farewell ceremony at Kata Elementary School, when the kids did a public recital on what they have learnt to-date in my English classes. Particularly memorable was what the 5th graders did - an imitation of what I had previously taught them for self-introductions (basically spoofs of Ponyo, Obama and myself). How I wish I could video the entire event. It was the best farewell gift they could ever give me, by remembering what I had taught them.

During the last 11 months, Erik and I have experienced the purest of hearts, the kindest of souls and the most innocent of smiles. We’ve met many people who have gone out of their way for us not because they want anything in return but because they genuinely care and want to be our friends. We’ve led a back-to-basics life, deriving pleasures from simple hobbies, dinner parties and stunning sceneries, which is in stark contrast to our fast-paced, often materialistic culture in Singapore. These are my favourite memories of Owase.

13 more days, and we shall continue to cherish every moment, before it’s time to say goodbye.