I have a lot in common with one of my Chinese teachers from this past year of study. We are the same height, the same age, and share the same profession. We are both soft-spoken and probably could stand to have about 5 times more self-confidence.
Today, I cooked spaghetti for this particular teacher. I’m not a novice cook, so the odds of the spaghetti turning out are 50/50. But tonight, it was delicious, and I felt happy. My teacher ate slowly and used chopsticks while my room-mate and I used forks and shoveled it in then waited somewhat awkwardly while our friend seemed to be savoring every bite. After supper, we all enjoyed watermelon slices and some home-made chocolate candy. I felt happy. I offered to send the left-overs home with my teacher; she accepted right away, and I felt happy.
I walked my teacher part of the way home alongside the Xiang Jiang River. It was one of those walks where we seemed to be moving backwards. We weaved side to side, stopped at least several times to look at the nighttime skyline, and debated the safest route for me to take home. We also talked about our lives, encouraged each other, and listened well. We shared little stories from our pasts and some dreams we have about the future. And I felt happy. Finally a group of middle school students interrupted our conversation to practice their English with me. I spoke some Chinese with them; they said my Chinese was good. I said that it wasn't that good, but that I had a good teacher; my teacher blushed, and I felt happy.