Taiwan Farewells.

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My heart remembers the balloons, their soft circles ascending in the evening dusk, each carrying a prayer for me to the heavens.
Some think the Chinese an emotionless people, there’s the classic of the “Chinese poker face”. I always felt an affinity, like me they have had to learn to disguise a tender heart in strength, emotions running deep within, never viewed by strangers.
It was not the first time I’d partaken, nor the last, but it stays pictured in my mind. They said the children wanted to give me a going away present, but that present wasn’t the tropical lilies or the gift wrapped box presented to me, it was far more precious than that.
As golden disks lit within bore tiny scribbled messages of intercession they began to sing. The English words were thrust into my hands to bridge my understanding. As the first small voice began to tremble, tears gleamed in the darkness, seeping out through the age ranges till only adult voices remained strong, though rivers flowed from their eyes. I could bare it no more; choking back tears I hugged my friend (and boss).
Though our bond was strong we knew we could not long indulge ourselves, passers by began to stare. Why were all these children and teachers crying in the street? We scrambled to gain control as teachers must, but the refrain of the song remains in my heart to this day. “Though you must go far away, and we may never see you again in this world, the precious times we had together can never be taken away”.
These are the true treasures of a teacher.