There is so much to write about and not enough time to write. Every day brings new Jishou adventures. Part of me wants to blog about every meal that I’ve eaten with students, every conversation that I’ve had with the locals, and each day of class that I’ve taught so far, but there’s just not enough time.
Some of my most intriguing conversations have occurred during individual sessions. For twenty minutes, I have a chance to ask my students about their day. Most of my students are remarkably candid and share personal information during these sessions. (I keep wondering if I was this open with my Princeton in Beijing teachers two summers ago.)
One of my students told me about his dream to live in Australia and swim all day. Instead of pulling out the parent card, I simply listened to him. He told me that he wants to travel the world before he is 40 years old, and then he wants to settle down in the Australian countryside. Hearing a 14 year old boy tell me about his bucket list reminded me to keep my own bucket list in mind as I enter my senior year.
Yesterday, I had a wonderful individual session with Victoria. Victoria stood me up as last week, so I asked Kelsey if I could have her for individual session again this week. Somehow, I got her talking about how she is going to college to be a flight attendant. You should have seen the way her face lit up when she started to tell me about her plans to travel to France, the USA, and Japan. Once I got her talking, she wouldn’t stop.
Not all of the individual sessions have been about rainbows and butterflies. There have been a few sessions that have left me feeling heavier than before. Last Wednesday, one of my students told me a story that brought tears to my eyes.
I cherish the time that I get to spend with my students and listen to them tell me their life stories. I have two and a half more weeks left to hear as many more stories as possible. Wish me luck!