Friday, July 29, 2011

Sad & Sweet School Sayonara

The inevitable saddest part about leaving Japan happened last week as I had to say good-bye to my students and Sapporo Intercultural and Technological High School. I wasn't prepared for the amount of heartfelt and thoughtful goodbyes from the students themselves, but it made it all the more special and brought about all the more tears.

Many of my last classes held parties or did special activities for me, which was so fun and touching. A couple of highlights of this included a full-on gospel rendition of "Oh Happy Day," followed by a lovely campfire-esque version of "You Are My Sunshine" (coincidentally, one of my favorite songs)!

The amount of wonderful letters, cards, photo albums, gifts, and flowers from the students was just so, so amazing! Aside from the flowers, every last one of those things is getting crammed into my already stuffed luggage somehow!

Hanging out in the teachers' room on the last day of classes before summer vacation:

The last day of school before vacay brings about a huge, important (super sweaty and hot) assembly in the gym...just look at them all lined up:

And with it, my farewell speech in both English AND Japanese!

And, cue the tears and hugs:

The principal and I with my sweet reward

More parting school-slash-gift shots:

See that gorgeous fan above? It was a gift from the English teachers and is a pretty darn expensive way to cool yourself! It's hand-painted silk with Japanese washi (handmade paper) as a backing and all folded up onto bamboo pieces. Just lovely:

This whole "sayonara" thing isn't getting any easier, especially with folks as awesome as the young adults at S.I.T., but it seems as if we're necessarily crossing them off of our lists, one at a time. A huge ありがとうございます to all of the students and teachers for the wonderful, sweet send-offs!

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