AGU in America 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Farewell Ceremony

On Tuesday, the last day of the program, many of the students wrote very touching posts, saying how much they had learned and enjoyed themselves during the past two weeks. It made me very happy to read them, and sad too, of course, to think that the program was coming to an end.

In Kevin's class, they learned a song which he had written and set to the music of a popular Japanese song (What is the name of the song?). The song goes,

We came from Tokyo;
Our flight was long and slow,
But finally we arrived here in Maryland.
The weather was hot;
Go swimming we did not.
We didn't have enough time for that!

We had a lot of fun on trips to Washington.
We went to the top of the Washington Monument.
We saw memorials, but no Baltimore Orioles;
Then we went back to the Quality Inn.

We went to Mt. Vernon,
George Washington's home;
On the way back, we fell asleep on the boat.

We wrote a lot in our blogs
And talked about Sponge Bob.
We ate pasta in a Georgetown restaurant.
We went to the Fair;
We saw pig races there.
Some of us sang karaoke, too.

We ate lunch in the Student Union
And missed our Japanese food.
We saw the Prange Collection of publications.
We touched the turtle and saw free concerts.
All this we did in two weeks!

We took a tour of the Washington Post.
We used a coin laundry to wash all our clothes.

We came from Aoyama to U of Maryland.
We hope that we will come again.
It's never "goodbye";
It's always "see you soon."
So see you soon, see you soon.

The Farewell Ceremony took place in the afternoon in the Prince George's Room, in Stamp Union. We were late getting started because we couldn't get Kevin's and Ji Won's slideshows set up quickly enough. Of course, all the Japanese were on time and had to wait outside! I felt bad about that. But finally, at 2:30, we opened the doors and everyone came in. Marsha, Linda, Tatsuya, and I all said "a few words". Then we enjoyed the wonderful slideshows. As I watched, I remembered all the fun things we had done: the Mall, the memorials, the Washington Monument, the Old Post Office, the museums, the Washington Post, the family panel, the photo scavenger hunt on Diversity Day, the student panel, the Prange Collection, Annapolis, Mount Vernon, and the Fair. All passed before our eyes so quickly. In almost every picture, the students' smiling faces expressed their pleasure. It was a joy for me to watch. (Then there were the funny faces they made when they were fooling around, and the peaceful expressions they wore when they went to sleep on the metro or boat!) Kevin made a copy of his slideshows for everyone, and Ji Won is putting his on his website for us all to enjoy again and again. I enjoyed them so much that I completely forgot to award the certificates. Fortunately, Uchida-san reminded me!

After the slideshows, we had refreshments: a cake which no one saw because of the late start and the necessity of cutting it during the slideshows (but I took a picture of it!), cookies, fruit, coffee, and tea. Amy Wasserstrom and Eiko Sakaguchi from the Prange Collection were there, as well as Yukari, and Michael, Aleshia and Forrest from the student panel. The room was buzzing with English and Japanese conversation. And then the picture-taking started! We overstayed our time and no one wanted to leave until Ji Won finally took the microphone and enjoined the students to return to the Quality Inn "to have fun." And they did: they played basketball, and they went out for a final dinner at AppleBee's. And from the look of them the following morning at the airport, they must have stayed up very late packing their suitcases for the journey home.

Here are my pictures from the Farewell Ceremony:

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