Our time in Tianjin comes to a close

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Monday, March 11, 2013

The rest of our time in Tianjin went by pretty quickly. After the excitement and disturbed sleep of Spring Festival we got back into our routine of teaching, learning, gym and badminton. Even though we were in a strange country we were now starting to fell more at home and familiar with the place.

According to the Chinese traditions the weather was meant to improve after Spring Festival - you know, the start of spring. However the weather gods were not playing ball. The snow days kept coming and the if it wasn't snow then we were hemmed in by terrible smog. There were a couple of mornings when we arrived early to work and had to shelter in the corridor to get out of the blizzards that were blowing. Moments like that were rather challenging given the summer that we missed in NZ.

The ending to our time in Tianjin came up pretty quickly and we spent
the final month getting things sorted for our departure. We had our
flights all sorted from about January but we still had a mountain of
things to sort. Mostly shopping related things.

We spent a day in Beijing at the markets getting new prescription glasses and presents
for everyone back home. I also managed to get a suit and some shirts
tailored at the silk market in Beijing. We were determined to make the
most of the cheap resources while we had them.

Our goodbye tour started with our Chinese Teachers. We took them all out for lunch one day as a big thank you. It was great to see Chris again and the girls gave us a set of Beijing Opera masks. The food was good and for the first time we managed to find sweet and sour pork!

Saying goodbyes to all of our classes was a mixed bag. The older kids were more aware of what was happening and so it was perhaps easier to say goodbye to them. We were excited that we no longer had to come up with lesson plans every week!
The younger classes, 3-5 year olds, were a bit harder to say goodbye to as they aren't really aware of what is about to happen. However they were very cute and were all super keen to pose for photos. My last class was a PCA for the class that Steph and I share. As these were some of our favourite kids we decided to give them a cake and have a fun class to say goodbye with. I taught them all about how to celebrate your birthday and ended the lesson eating cake! they loved it and we got lots of class photos.

It was bitter sweet leaving the school too. We had made really good friends with all of the other teachers and staff at our centre in particular. To celebrate we went out for a big night of KTV, dinner and drinks with all of our friends. The night was fun but also quite sad to be saying goodbyes to people that had become our defacto China-family over the last 10 months.  We were showered with gifts which was unexpected but lovely.  Susan and Tony gave us matching couples shirts (they say together "let love create miracle" with a big red heart haha) which we wore out on our last night, much to everyone's delight. 
We are sure we will see lots of them again though so it wasn't really goodbyes but more like a see you next time.
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