Oh man, the day is finally here. I can say that it is the last time I will be at Cerecare. At least the last time for now. I knew it was going to be a very emotional day. Two months of bonds and connections are not things that are easy to part with. I love my time here and everything that makes these children strong.
I entered in Cerecare today promising myself I will not cry no matter what. “Good morning!” I greeted everyone as I walked in the class (as I do everyday) and the children would shout back with their best English “Good morning 哥哥!” I gave them presents, cinnamon bun flavored oreos and peanut butter flavored oreos (flavors not in China) and my two favorite books, Oh the places you’ll go and The giving tree. After giving all of the teachers and staff their presents too, I feel like wow this is really going to end. The day continued as it always had been, physical therapy followed by two classes along with the everyday laughs and cries. Everything felt normal, then one of my favorite children (TaoTao) starts to tear up and eventually cry. This is very emotional for me personally because TaoTao is one of those kids I got to know very well over the past two months. I learned of his history, family, strengths, weaknesses, favorite foods, and so many more. One of the things about TaoTao is that he never cries, in fact he is the only kid I have not seen cry until now! So this was very touching for me and I started to tear up. Tao Tao told me “Don’t go home, this is home for you”. This is the start of the emotional day of waterworks. Later on the day, I received a surprise a goodbye singing party where all the kids sang! And also one by one cried, and eventually I too was covered in tears. I hate to leave this place, good byes have never been so hard! When one of the kids I am closest with, DuoDuo started to sing the national hymm of Cerecare ( a very touching song about hope) I got not stop the crying.
When it came to the last hour, the children begged me to stay longer today so I agreed. We talked about the future, and how much I hope and optimism I have for all of them. I promised I would come back and visit, and that I would be back sooner than they thought. When it got late, they begged me not to go, and I did not want to go to! They and the teachers and staff thanked me for the past two months, but I should be thanking them for the personal growth, love, and inspiration I acquired these past months. Goodbye was harder then I thought, but it had to be done. A temporary good bye. It was a blessing watching these children these 2 months. The growth they had on how they learned to walk better, use scissors, learn more Chinese and English, use chopsticks, and every experience we saw together was very valuable.
I want to thank Lumos and everyone who made this possible. This experience abroad is more than what I had in mind and it could not be more perfect than it is now. I will never forget this place, Shanghai, Cerecare and all of these memories will always be very dear to me and will always hang above me as an inspiration like the clouds and sun I see everyday.