Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Musings: The Art of Receiving

pretty gifts in pretty packages


The family received beautiful gifts this weekend past.

A beautiful throw handmade in humblet-themed colours, pastel shades of mint, blue and yellow - totally unplanned! (Definitely using it for humblet's month by month shots) An elegant calligraphy of a quote from this blog by the designer of our blog header. Both in simple yet pretty hand labelled brown packages. And a gorgeous water colour case for my new gadget.

This led me to ponder about the Art of Receiving -


It is commonplace to hear people talk about the art of giving. Charities, NGOs or your regular student collecting loose change in a metal tin for a few CIP hours. Giving is very much talked about, though it might not be practiced as widely. 

But who talks about receiving?

the unsolvable Math problem


Upon reflection, I realised I first thought about the art of receiving when I brought my students to Cambodia for their Overseas Community Involvement Project. No doubt, my students were there to paint their library, clean their toilets and prepare a scrumptious meal for the local kids.

Yet, upon our arrival, we received a huge welcome. Two rows of kids lined up outside the orphanage cheering, waving and welcoming us warmly. As lunch was being prepared, the kids taught us how to weave grasshoppers using leaves as well as how they popped rice atop a simple stone stove. As the Singaporean art club students did up the wall mural, the local kids were teaching my students their language. How to say thank you, I love you and so much more. On the last day, as we gave out stationary packs to each child, my students received cutely rehearsed bows and shy whispers of 'thank you very much' in English. But most of all they each received a warm hug from these children whom they had come to love in such a short time.

Reading their post-trip reflections triggered these reflections.

It is indeed humbling to receive, because when you receive you make yourself vulnerable.

In receiving their kindness, their welcome and their generous love, we were stranded and frustrated. By the end of day one, I had students ask me, 'can't we do more, give more, help more?' No, we could not. For there is no way to materially repay the sincerity we received. Even if we painted every single wall and bought water filters for every classroom, it would not turn tables. We walked away humble recipients of their love and not the rich, proud givers we initially were. 

It just doesn't add up. 

--

How wonderful it is to receive.

Always grateful,
Amy



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