再见 (zài jiàn)
It is not goodbye, it is see you again. In the last two weeks I had to say goodbye to my last four favorite Chinese friends as they returned back to China for their next adventure. Two years ago I met this amazing group of Chinese students who all came here to study and teach and who knew each other from China already and then we all started to meet and spend time together. It is hard to put into to words the amazing adventures and memories we have all had together. But what I walk away from saying goodbye to these friends with is a deep sense of forgiveness and thankfulness.
These friends immediately opened their hearts to me and were willing to support me in anything I needed and they were so selfless, never seeking for something from me in return. We spoke a lot of english together (obviously) and I learned two Chinese words. Méishìr and Lǘ...meaning it doesn`t matter and donkey. Very useful I know. Someday when I go to visit them in China I will really have to learn some basic Chinese! No matter what I always had fun with them...serious conversations and questions or joking around and playing games.
|The very first time we hung out! Making Hongxiao`s favorite cookies :)|
And COOKING. Oh boy the cooking. I think nearly every time we were together we were cooking. I taught them how to make a few of my very favorites and they taught me how to make homemade dumplings and hot pot! Traditional Chinese favorites. Hongxiao is the Chef and Dr. Pan is the leader. Food brought us closer and helped us to see a little more into one another`s cultures.
The last three years were three extremely hard years for me, the hardest in my life. These friends stood by me and even when I disappeared from their lives and moved home, they still welcomed me back to Blacksburg and treated me the same. That is why I said at the start when I am with them I feel deep forgiveness and thankfulness. Deep forgiveness because in my hardest moments they didn`t blame me or push me away. In fact just the opposite they sent caring e-mails and always asked how am I doing. And deep thankfulness to God for sending me all the way from China such amazing friends. One has since been married, congrats Shuyan! And they have all made great progress in their academic careers and pursuits. I am going to miss them so much, I already do. And those who went back to China even earlier I have been missing long...
Thank you, each of you, for the amazing friendship. Huan even you were always a friend from afar! And now you are all far, but friendship doesn`t rely on distance, thankfully. And thank you Lord for giving me such amazing friends and memories. I will cherish them forever.