Day Forty-Two, Thursday, August 3
Today is actually our last day of school in Zhuhai. I’m not even sure how much it has sunken in that I’ve been going to school here all summer… and now it’s coming to a close. I am beyond sad to say goodbye to all my teachers, TAs, and language partners; I’ve become such close friends with these people in the past seven weeks and will miss them beyond belief.
But before the sadness could set in, we had to take our final. Honestly, I can’t believe that I am actually taking a final, during the summer, in a Chinese University. The first hour was our written exam. This consisted of numerous idioms, grammar points, info on Chinese cities, and translation portions. Qiu Laoshi did not lie when she said she wanted to make it low stress – it was incredibly easy but at the same time I realized that I would not have known any of the answers before this summer!! It is actually unbelievable how much I’ve learned in a few shorts weeks.
Next was our spoken final, which I think we were all a little more nervous for. We’ve been practicing talking about the topics on the spoken test this whole week with our language partners, but it just feels very different in such a formal setting. We each drew a card which had our oral test questions on it and each had 5 minutes to prepare for it. My short answer questions (1 minute talking) were introduce a Chinese city and introduce the best thing in Zhuhai. Both of these were easy because I’d rehearsed them with Mengnan. For the 3 minute response, I talked about my host family and about sports (xc). I felt really good after my test because I spoke the whole time until the timer went off and because my teacher and TAs were seemed impressed by what I was saying and how I was using the grammar structures. Shoutout to Mengnan for helping me prepare!
After our test ended we had a kinda awkward period of time before the closing ceremony started. My class’ went over the answers to the test questions. After going through them, I felt really confident! They also took a ton of selfies with us with Kaylie’s new selfie stick. It was pretty fun because we reminisced over memories from the summer and used a bunch of funny filters!
I just got some snacks from the supermarket for lunch and chilled with the TAs during our break. Lexi, Sydney, and I also put some last finishing touches on our closing ceremony dance. We all walked over to the hotel on campus around 1 for the closing ceremony.
First up for the ceremony was a series of short iMovies that each language partner made for his or her American student. Not going to lie, I cried through the majority of these. They had a ton of nostalgic pics from the entire summer and sad sayings thanking us for such an amazing summer. Anthony and I also gave Lily her present (an adidas backpack) before the ceremony started, which made me cry because lily started crying. Overall, the closing ceremony was a sob session for a lot of us…
Zack and I were the English hosts for the ceremony, and our language partners were the Chinese hosts. We introduced each act; these acts were performed by us American students and were all pretty fun. After I introduced Anthony and Katie’s song and dance, I had to sprint to the bathroom to change into my dance outfit (white t and leggings). I made it back just in time for my dance. We started by each thanking on of our TAs, and then did our dance. The music was a little messed up (there were some technical difficulties), but we got through it and it was super fun. I think our TAs loved it, and they were almost crying when we were speaking about them!
After all of our acts we’re done, we were each called up one by one to get it graduation certificates from our teachers. This was an amazing moment of recognition for me, as it finally dawned on me how much time and effort I’ve put into this.
By the end of the ceremony, we were all taking pictures with each other. Not going to lie, I was sobbing throughout the entire thing (so I don’t have many good pics). Even though it really hurt saying goodbye, especially since I knew I might never see some of these people again, I felt like this ceremony really gave me closure. I was only crying because I had become so close to all my Chinese teachers, TAs, and language partners. In the short time span of 6 weeks, I’ve made lifelong friends that I know I will always keep close in my heart.
My host sister took me home after the ceremony and I basically went to my room to look at my gifts for then next hour. The kind things different language partners said about me really hit home – I will definitely miss them. For dinner, my family took me it for one last Chinese dinner. We went to a generic Chinese restaurant, which was a great way to end my experience here. It reminded me of the lunch we had on the very first day we were in Zhuhai. My trip has completed a whole circle, and as sad as I am to leave I finally feel the closure I needed to say goodbye.
I think today will be the last day I blog. My program concludes today and the rest of the trip is just logistics and travel updates. I’m putting a brief summary of the next few days below…
Friday morning my family took me out ft zao cha (dim sum) and then we said goodbye. My mom dropped me off at Bei shi da; there were a lot of tears. I met up with lily for one last time while I was waiting for the bus – it was sweet but harder to say goodbye. We all caught a ferry to Hong Kong and then had dinner there. We took a little stroll around but basically just went back to the hotel. We pulled an all nighter and all chilled in a few rooms. We reminisced over our trip, played games, chatted, and wrote our letters. It was a long night, but we all made it through and had to leave early in the morning for the airport. Our flight was delayed by 3.5 hours (left at 2pm)… but we still got there by 5am. A lot of phones were lost or broken at the airport and we were basically just a sleep reprieved mess. Long story short, if anyone needs a tour of the HK airport hit me up. When we finally got on the plane, almost everybody feel right asleep. The plane ride was much calmer and faster than on the way over. At Newark, craziness ensued because most people missed their connections. Thankfully by this time, my parents picked me up and I was on my way home at last!