I cried. In front of the whole, god damn school. It was all going well, I had just delivered my farewell speech in Japanese which went fine, but when the two students who came up to the stage starting crying as they presented me with a parting gift, try as I might, I just couldn’t hold back the tears.
I hope this to be by far the biggest audience to ever witness this rare phenomenon. Back when I was a student, making a teacher cry was one of the highest accolades a class of students could achieve and was seen as a triumph, though this was normally down to despicable and cruel behaviour, rather than the sadness of leaving the people and a place that was held so dear.
I took Shiro the school dog for our final walk today. Though she will never know it, my time spent exploring the rice paddy roads has been one of my most cherished experiences of all at my place of work. Rather than sit at my desk and surf the net during the quiet times (as many ALTs do) I have always jumped at the chance to get out and about, enjoying the simple pleasure of walking a dog.
Through heavy snow, warm tropical rain, thick sticky air and just pleasant spring sun, we have roamed the land, taking in the ever changing scenes and smells of this beautiful locale; the mist shrouded mountains, the bamboo thickets and the native fauna such as wild tortoises, lizards, snakes and eagles.
Many of my posts and pictures on this very blog have been created and captured whilst out with Shiro, as we walk by the paddies, whether covered in crisp white snow, flooded to create miniature inland lakes, or as now – bright and lush, accompanied by the sound of a billion rustling blades, as a breeze ripples the surface of a green rice sea.
I’m about to leave school for the final time.
I’ll miss it.