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六月有奖征文:A present full of love and encouragement

作者:宋纳川 | 来源:大连理工大学

     I wasn’t sure what I should express as I sat in my study holding the note which said “Never give up” in Chinese characters. They were written by Mr. Andrew, my foreign teacher at Senior High.

Seeing the four Chinese characters, I couldn’t help thinking of him and the happy hours we spent together. I still remembered the first time I met Mr. Andrew. It was a sunny September afternoon in the teachers’ office. He was a handsome gentleman from England, wearing a black jacket and a pair of blue jeans, aged about 40. He was tall and strong, with bright smiles on his face. As a volunteer, he volunteered to teach us spoken English. Coincidently, I was chosen the class representative of English at that time. He often invited me to his office after class and as a result, I had more opportunities to chat with him than other students and I started getting to know him a lot. Mr. Andrew and I became good friends. We trusted each other and we could talk about personal matters. I could describe him in several ways—kind-hearted, humorous, optimistic, devoted and perseverant.

Obviously, he was perseverant because he struggled to cope with difficulties in the process of learning Chinese characters in his life, which impressed me most.

As a foreigner, he showed great interested in Chinese traditional culture and was eager to learn about it. He said that he loved China and Chinese traditional culture which involved something special, magical and different much attracted him immediately he came to China. Every day when I communicated with him in English, one of the frequent topics we talked about was Chinese culture. He definitely developed an interest in Chinese characters and decided to learn them. As is known, it is not easy to learn Chinese characters, especially for a foreigner. Knowing his intention, I was determined to help him read and write our Chinese tradition. However, he had much difficulty in understanding the meaning of Chinese characters at first. Sometimes it would take about twenty minutes to get him have a good command of the meaning of one Chinese word which maybe had various meanings in terms of different contexts. During this time, he was patient, serious and modest, never wanting to waste a single minute, though he often felt confused. He concentrated all his attention on it. He worked so hard that after a series of attempts, he made profound progress in spelling. Through a half year’s efforts and perseverance, Mr. Andrew could write and read about 60 Chinese words, which was an unbelievable achievement he felt proud of. Not only he but also I felt relieved as his efforts were fruitful.

At the same time, my spoken English improved a lot. At first, I was too afraid of making mistakes to speak English in public. Knowing that, Mr. Andrew inspired me to practice speaking bravely instead of focusing on the fear of making mistakes. In an effort to help me practice speaking, he suggested me going to a public place as often as possible. He encouraged me to get involved in all kinds of speaking activities, including English Corner, English-speaking contests and so on, which would definitely contribute to my improvement of spoken English. He said the most efficient way was confidence and more practice. With his careful and kind help, I felt more confident about my spoken English and my spoken English improved little by little. I really appreciated his kind assistance from the bottom of my heart, which made me feel like a spring breeze. Whenever I had a problem with English, he never hesitated to spare some time and give me a hand with a smile and some kind words, no matter how busy he was. He explained the problem to me so patiently and vividly that I could understand it easily. He was an unselfish person who always put the welfare of others first and there was no way to measure what his love was worth.

I realized that even if we were all different, we could still find friendship and find someone who loved us. From him I learned that we were supposed to have hope and stay positive in whatever situation we might find ourselves.

   Time flew quickly! It was time for Mr. Andrew to leave China and return to England. Upon leaving, Andrew wrote four Chinese words “Never give up” and presented me with it as encouragement. I was moved deeply for this gift of great value, with tears in my eyes. I greeted him with a loving hug. I held the strong belief that what remained was the precious friendship between us.

Although the distance between him and me could separate us, I would never forget our true friendship. It was he who taught me never to be discouraged faced with difficulties. It was he that made me passionate, full of dreams and motivated. It was he who stayed with me and pulled me through the hard time. The present he gave to me and the moment when he got ready to leave left a lasting impression on me. His inner quality would never be forgotten. Words failed to convey my gratitude to him. I could have achieved no success without his unselfish dedication.

   It has been more than two years since Mr. Andrew left China. It is a privilege to call him my friend. I always feel blessed with such a happy memory of keeping him company when I was at Senior High, one that most people would want to have. I put this present in my desk drawer and it has become one of my most treasured possessions. When I have difficulty with my life, it will remind me of how I faced some challenges and dealt with them. It doesn’t take much to help each other, just a little bit of heart and soul. I feel extremely proud to have this very important memory of what that gift meant to me and it always crosses my mind.

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