These two weeks, before I go into the classroom, I never miss this poster which gives my heart a lift. I secretly believe it’s me, but no one told me about my image being borrowed for the celebration of Teacher’s Day.
It occurred to me to look into the matter today. So it turned out to be Zi-Rong’s work and it’s me in the picture! It caught my eye in the beginning, and now I only get to like it much better. What’s more encouraging than seeing myself when I go to work every day? Besides, I am glad that next to my silhouette there is no cliché like “Teachers are as great as God…”
When I was reading on my way home, I came across some words in Jodi Picoult’s book. She said, people we love surprise us every day. No matter how well we know them, there are always sparkles and fire beyond our expectations. That explains why I like my job so much!
I haven’t used any English name for ages. And I dislike people calling me by my full name. Therefore, whenever it’s time to introduce myself to new students, I’d say, call me Miss You. This feels like a trendy name that’ll still sound so when I sail into my sixties.
We often say, we are what our names indicate. Do names really influence one’s personalities? I think so. Even without our awareness, we develop into the kind of people our names want us to be. So we have to like our names anyway.
Miss You是個很容易引起誤會的稱呼，因為我在信尾簽上Miss You的時候，別人會勿以為我很想念他們，不過假如因此讓大家開心了一下，我倒不是很在意。最近這幾個禮拜，我覺得我的命運真的是被Miss You主導，走在校園裡，上一年教的女孩紛紛說：我很想你！或者畢業很多年的大女生透過友人傳達同樣的訊息，讓我原本冬眠的虛榮心燃燒了起來。
Miss You is a term that easily causes misunderstanding. When I sign Miss You at the end of a letter, people will read it as a message that I miss them. Well, if this makes their day, I don’t mind at all. Over the past few weeks, I have the feeling that my life has been crammed with Miss You. When I walk on the campus, the girls I taught last year would shout from a long way off, “I miss you!” Or those who graduated many years ago would convey the same message indirectly. Oh, how these words make my dormant vanity burn again…
We can be missed because of many many things, or maybe it’s just a tiny detail. I like the latter. When you say to me, I miss the first words you said when you stepped into the classroom every morning. I miss how you said, “Good morning everyone!” with sunshine in your tone. I am surprised that I am remembered due to such a simple reason.
I know, I will be forgotten soon, but it won’t matter. Before that happens, you have warmed my heart.
When I was planning the syllabus for this semester’s special courses for the gifted class back in August, it occurred to me that I had invited a foreign lecturer on my birthday. I think this is the biggest gift I have prepared for myself, by accident. After all, I often wish I could shut up and listen to others.
So today I was really at ease, unlike other weeks when I always have to start the preparation from the morning time. I thought all I had to do was sit in the back of the classroom and then draw a period to another happy work day. But life is just full of surprises. Right before the end of the class, one group of kids came up with the theme of love for their play. Then the lecturer Igor couldn’t help sharing his points of view with us: Chinese people are good at hiding their feelings! That is not being shy. It’s fear that stands in the way. When we bare our hearts to others, chances are that we might be turned down, and in 99% of the cases, it’s true. But if we run into that 1% of people, it’s all worth the effort. He kept saying, trust me because I’ve lived a long life and I am a happy man. I don’t know how the kids felt, but I nodded my head like crazy.
When I walked Igor to the bus station, I said to him, I am always the one that opens my heart, but I am constantly turned down. He just turned and looked at me, saying, “They have lost a lot.” I replied calmly without feeling sad or upset, “I know.”
除了之前收的無數的禮物，今天學生送了我George Benson的Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You，我剛好收到Jamie從芝加哥的來信，弟弟把Stacey Kent的專輯用美麗的黃絲帶包起來放在我桌上，傍晚爸爸要帶我去買新的慢跑鞋，我以為我生日禮物都收完了，卻來了這麼一個大禮物。我一定常常聽起來很像個快樂地很沒有深度的傻蛋，但那不是我不懂悲傷，我只是覺得它得用在值得的地方，我也有創傷，但那又怎樣呢？總有要痊癒的一天吧！所以我還是要相信，有一天我會找到真愛，有一天我會得波隆納，因為在相信和不相信之間，我還有甚麼選擇呢？
Apart from tons of gifts I had received before today, students sang to me today George Benson’s Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You, which is my favorite at this moment. I found Jamie’s letter from Chicago in the mailbox. Jun put Stacey Kent’s CD tied with a yellow ribbon on my desk. Dad is taking me to buy a pair of new running shoes this evening. Just when I thought I had got all the gifts, a BIG one dropped from the sky. I must sound like a shallow happy fool all the time, but that’s not because I don’t understand sorrow. I just believe it has to be used in the right places. I have trauma from the past, but so what? The wounds have to heal sooner or later. Therefore, I still want to believe that one day I will find true love and that I will become one of the selected illustrators in the Bologna Book Fair because between the choices of believing and not believing, you know the one I’d go for.
To welcome the new semester, I had my hair cut for a brand-new style. I realized that I am no longer one of the youngest teachers. One of the incoming teachers was my student many years ago. Apart from this shocking fact, when new teachers were seriously discussing teaching activities and students’ feedback, I was busy chatting about my latest accessories and clothes with other old hands. This should be a good example of expansion? But those around me should know that I hardly worry about my students’ misspelled words all my life.
Seriously, it seems that I have not moved forward much, and I can’t name any actual gain. But I seem to have broadened my horizons, able to accept more people, more possibilities. For example, I didn’t understand the profound and beautiful works of Shaun Tan, a Perth-based Australian artist, but lately I’ve been so obsessed with his images. So his book became one of the birthday gifts I bought for my birthday. This should be a kind of growth.
My birthday is not today. It’s the eighth of September, but I am used to posting pictures and words before or after. My friends, influenced by my carefree attitude, choose any date they prefer beginning from the end of August and send me greetings on their favorite days. It feels like I am having a long birthday party lasting at least 2 to 3 weeks. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. The paper I used for the picture today traveled all the way from Britain!
Someone told me, I should celebrate for my mom on my birthday, so I’ve been thanking her for giving me natural curls that never stop arousing people’s jealousy and very outgoing personalities, which are actually my most precious assets.
I hope I can keep expanding my life before this year ends without giving up my persistence and perseverance. Like me in the picture, because of the dim light in the hotel room, I decided to kneel in front of the balcony to draw postcards for Von. I want to love myself and others, draw stories for everyone, and be honest with me always.
If you are happy because of my birthday, that’ll be a lovely birthday gift for me!