The students’ eyes beamed as they handed me their parting gift – a framed collection of hand-painted masks from the Chinese Opera.
“Xie, xie,” I used the Chinese word of thanks, my eyes filling with tears. “It’s beautiful.”
On the way to the airport, I gazed at the cardboard homes and overcrowded streets cluttered with trash. Most of my students owned only one outfit, but had been sure to purchase a fine gift.
Back home, the abundance of wealth and comfort was dizzying.
“Are you alright?” my mother asked, alarmed.
My students’ farewell gift caught my eye. “I will be.”
This week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge was to use 100 words and the photo above to write a memoir from our own life. This story was drawn from my experience teaching English in Mainland China while I was in college, an experience which certainly changed my perspective.
Photo Credit: Copyright by Sandra Crook