July 21, 2008

My Students

I call them "my" students because I am assigned as the social organiser to a specific group of students here at Richard Language College--the students ages 16-18 who have their classes on the University of Bournemouth's campus. I am thrilled that I have been assigned to these students because they are so much fun and I've really come to cherish my time with them.

Most of the students who study here only come for two or three weeks in the summer and I have become such good friends with so many of them that it becomes hard to say goodbye. At the University, the students come and talk to me during the day just to say hi and tell me about something they did. Then we're all together on activities and excursion days and we all laugh and have such a good time together. For example, the other night, about 45 students went with me to the park to play volleyball and football (soccer). Afterwards, we stood around talking and our conversation drifted to a disco that the students like to go to. It's called "Crank" and it's an under-18 disco, i.e. no alcohol. Somehow the subject moved to dancing and I ended up showing the students some "classic" dance moves they could use....really they're just dance moves for people who can't dance and need to look like they can do something on the dance floor. The moves can be explained by their names: the Sprinkler, the Lawn Mower, the Shopping Cart, Riding the Pony. We were all laughing so hard and two days later, a bunch of the students ran up to me and said, "Deanne! We went to Crank last night and we did the dance moves you showed us!" Again we laughed! It actually has been difficult for me because I become really attached to these students and then they have to go home and I find myself rather sad about it. After the BBQ last Friday night, I had a lot of students come up to me to say goodbye since they were leaving on Saturday. I was so touched as each one of them thanked me and gave me a big hug. It was one of those happy/sad moments; I could see the sincerity in the students' eyes as they thanked me and told me they'd miss me and I knew that most likely I will never meet these dear friends again. Despite knowing that fact, my memories of these students are absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

Tonight we took the students to play mini-golf in the town centre. Bournemouth has beautiful gardens in its town centre and in the evenings they are filled with smiling faces, music, the smell of flowers, and sounds of laughter. As we were playing mini-golf, a band was playing swing music in a pavilion nearby and the gardens were lit with the beautiful light of the setting sun. As I laughed with my students and watched others in the gardens surrounding us, I drank in everything around me. It was one of those moments that you wish you could hold onto for all time and always remember the sights, the smells, the sounds, and most of all, the way you felt. It is in these moments that God reminds me just how deeply He has blessed my life. Of course like every other person, I have my petty complaints about things in my life, but when I really take a step back and look at my life, I couldn't ask for anything more. Especially here in England, with this job, as I am making endless amazing memories with each passing day.

I have just passed the "half-way" mark of my time here in England. In fact, one month from today, I fly back to the US. Time has flown by thus far, as it always has, but I know the second half of my time here will go even faster. It is basically divided into three sections: 1) these next nine days leading up to Matt's arrival 2) the eleven days that Matt will spend here 3) the ten days after Matt leaves that are my final days in England. I am already feeling a little sad at how quickly the time has passed, but I know I will leave here with enough memories to last a lifetime.

I'll leave you now with a few more pictures of people and places here in my adventures in England...


Sophia (South Korea) and myself on an excursion in Poole.

Dominika (Poland)--she brought me Polish sausage. Delicious!

Me -- on another excursion to London!

Playing mini-golf in the gardens of Bournemouth's town centre.
This is Monika (Czech) and you can see the live band in the background.

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