Missing You, Part 2



Yesterday I received a couple of WeChat messages from Miss Yanee, who was my assistant when I was teaching at Green Oasis School in Shenzhen. She has been having a great time canoeing in Thailand. She was always "Miss Yanee" in class and she always called me "Mr Hill" in front of the students, but I insisted on her calling me "Simon" when we were alone.


At the moment, I still do not really feel that I have retired. It is still the summer holiday and school will not be starting again for another week or two. When I come back from the Crimea, then maybe I will start to feel "retired".

I started writing this piece for my blog in Terminal 2 of Sofia airport. Now I am in Vnukovo, located somewhere near the Moscow ring road -Russia's equivalent of the M25. And just like the M25, there were lots of traffic jams, but fortunately most of them were on the other side of the six-lane highway.

I miss Miss Yanee very much. No, it wasn't like that. You might be thinking that, but you would be wrong. Our relationship was a professional one and it was not improper in any way. (It certainly was not physical, although I have to admit that my heart did beat a bit faster when she leaned in front of me to show me how to do something on my computer.) But I do miss her smile every morning, as she would come into the classroom at 8am, about ten minutes before the students arrived. She made my job as a class teacher easier and more enjoyable, in lots of ways. For example, when we had the meetings with the parents of our students: she would do nearly all of the talking, translating all of my notes, so I would just sit there and occasionally smile politely.

I miss working with Yanee because she is such a good and caring person. She has a lot of fun with the students, as she genuinely enjoys being with them. She "big sistered" the students in my class and in many ways the girls were pleased to accept her as "one of the gang". The 5G boys, however, were sometimes hard work and a couple of them did not always speak respectfully to her. I think that sometimes she felt a bit unhappy because a few of the students and, sadly, some of the parents were not polite to her either, but most of the children adored her.

There are two things that I do not understand (and I probably never will). Firstly, why was it that some (a minority, but still a sizeable one) of wealthy people in China seem to take pleasure in being nasty to those who are not as well-off as they are? Maybe this is not a “Chinese thing” and perhaps there will always be wealthy people who behave in this way, anywhere in the world. Secondly, and more puzzling, I never understood why Yanee never had a boyfriend in the two years we worked together. How is it that such a sweet and lovely girl does not have lots of guys chasing after her and proposing to her every five minutes?

Yanee, Bill and Julia are the three Chinese people that I really got to know well during our five years in Shenzhen. What would our time in China have been like, if we had never met these good people?







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