A Sweet Container

One of the hardest things above living overseas is missing my family and friends.

I feel fortunate that I can visit the US every summer and that Skype lets me see and talk to people almost as if I’m in the same room with them. While we all take this separation in stride, there are times when I really wish it were possible to physically be with the people I love more often than just during two months in the summer. On the bright side, at least my husband is with me now. The first two years that I was in Taiwan, he was still in the US. It’s great to be together again.

One of the most awesome things about living overseas is making friends who become a family in your new home.

As with any situation, living abroad has its share of ups and downs. Sometimes, I love what I’m doing here, and other times I feel frustrated and worn out. But there is a constant throughout my four plus years year–and that is the group of students who remind me in hundreds of ways why I came here in the first place. I will be sharing some student stories in future blog posts, but today I wanted to share something that happened earlier in the week.

Last Saturday was Teachers’ Day (the birthday of Confucius). On Monday morning, I walked into my cubicle in our research room and found a gift bag on my desk. Inside it was this box. Along with a note:

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Dear Deborah,

This is a gift from Macaca, your student who graduated from the department of biotechnology two years ago. She asked me to bring you this sweet gift and wish you a good Teachers’ Day.

Best wishes!

Inside are some of the most beautiful chocolates I have ever seen in my life. This picture doesn’t do them justice! They are almost too pretty to eat!  I said ALMOST! So far, I’m still admiring them, but that won’t last forever. Look at these gorgeous beauties!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe most amazing part of this story is that Macaca, the student who sent these, was my student the very first year I was a teacher here. I haven’t been her teacher for three years, and yet she still remembers me on Teachers’ Day. I was so touched by her kind gesture.

Many other students have moved me over the years, and I plan to share some of their stories. My point is that the connections that I continue to build here sustain me in those moments where I long to be in my home country. But these students share their country with me and help me make it my home while I am with them.

591 days to 60!

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