The last few days have been rather difficult. The news from home has been difficult to take. It would be difficult to take were we at home, a drive or a short flight away from being with family. From here, the feeling of being stuck, isolated and a million miles away becomes stronger and exaggerated.
Going to work on Saturday mornings is usually a difficult task. Seven hours of teaching awaits us and with the foreboding news from home fresh in our minds, going to work yesterday, getting up yesterday morning was particularly difficult.
It was one of those mornings where I simply felt like nothing could redeem the day. It was lost and I simply had to struggle through. I’ve had a cold and I have two exams today, which meant lots of review yesterday which isn’t always the easiest thing.
I got to class and had a pretty good first hour considering the circumstances. A few of my students after the first hour said they’d be back soon, put on their jackets and left. I had no idea what they were doing. My brain was fried and unable to pay attention to much of anything.
They arrived shortly after our tea break was over with a giant package and they laid it before me. A present.
I opened it up and inside was a giant model ship. With the culmination of emotions running high in my personal life, being sick and not sleeping well, this act of love and kindness overwhelmed me immediately. I grabbed a tissue, but I had to be honest with my class. I told them how deeply moved I was by their gift and how timely such a gift was. At a time when I was most strongly questioning why we made the decision to come here, my answer lay before me.
I’ve had this class for nearly four months and today is my last day with them. I will miss them quite sincerely. When we started classes together four months ago, most of them knew very little English. They could answer with “I’m Sinan.” or “My name is Aybuke.” But beyond that, there was very little. Now, they can tell me about their weekend, share with me their favorite foods, movies, music, and football teams.
These students made me realize something I hadn’t before yesterday. When I leave this place and go back to America, it will not be without tears. I will miss this place. I will miss these people. And though my impact upon their lives may not be felt or understood by them for years. Their impact upon my life is being felt and understood in some degree by me at this moment.
I can only hope that my students in the future provide me with such a sense of joy when I think of them.