14 February 2009

A new semester begins

Well, I'm back from Poland, mostly recovered from jet lag, working full-time again, and I have a giant pile of laundry waiting for me. So, what better time to do a blog update?

Before I start to fill you in on all my Krakow goings-on, I want to do one post on the last day of the first semester.

On the last day of the semester, I attended my first all-school assembly. Every student and teacher gathered in the gym/auditorium on the top floor of the school. Here, the principal gave out awards to various groups for their accomplishments throughout the semester. And many groups performed.

An aboriginal song and dance group; they won an award at a citywide competition. These are a handful of the aboriginal students at Fu Xing, most of whom are on the school's baseball team. The baseball players are pretty much the "coolest" kids in school, so you can understand why they're a little less enthusiastic to perform in costume at an all-school assembly:

Also, a group of Tae kwon do students:

Along with these groups were my Reader's Theater and Storytelling teams, a little flute ensemble, and some extracurricular groups I didn't even know existed.

The last (and longest) part of the assembly was one of the greatest things I've ever witnessed in any school, anywhere. A Taiwanese (language) teacher at the school was retiring. The principal and directors all said something about him. And then, one by one, class by class, every student in the school lined up to give him a card they had made and shake his hand (or hug him, or, as the last class chose to do, pick him up and carry him across the stage). There was, of course, sappy music playing in the background the whole time.
(you can see the retiree, center-stage, in blue.)

And thus ended my first semester at Fu Xing. After almost a month has gone by since the last day (19 January), it seems like kind of a dream now. What exactly did I do? Did anything even happen? It's a good thing I took pictures. But I'm determined to work even harder this semester, and truly make the most of my time left in Taiwan.


Your Mom said...

Welcome back -- I resist saying welcome home because I pretend this is still your home :) I look forward to your stories of Krakow. Happy Valentine's Day!
Love, Mom

Shava said...

Katie! Glad you had a safe trip back to Kaohsiung. I'll be excited to read about your Krakow trip (did you ever end up going to the flea markets?).

Wow. The way that your school said goodbye to the retiring teacher was incredible; they really seem to value their teachers highly (as teachers around the world should be)! His send-off was really touching.

Ok lady, hope to hear more from you soon and hope you recover from jet-lag etc soon :)

Tracy said...

Hi Katie,
Can't wait to hear about your adventures in Krakow. Love living vicariously! Your letter arrived as promised....thanks.
As always,

Aunt Judy said...

Do you think you will get such a send-off at the end of your year there? It was quite touching that every child in the school is taught to truly value the gift of education, given by this teacher and others.
Anxious to hear about Krakow. A girl a year ahead of you at Harvard is in med school there; I think you met her boyfriend, Max Warren, who was in your class (and David's class at STA). I can get her contact details for Jon if he'd like to catch up with another Harvard grad who speaks English! Max Warren is there visiting now from his year in Tanzania as a Rockefeller.
Katie, I am so glad you are soaking it all up. It is such a great opportunity. One of those true life changing years!
I was also very touched to see in your Christmas card that the other puppy has survived. A little bit of dog craziness in your house!
Welcome back -- anxious to hear more!
Aunt Judy