CCCC: Confucius Classroom instructor bids a fond farewell to Sanford
“When the plane takes off, it will be so difficult to say goodbye to North Carolina,” Ling Huang said wistfully as she prepared to return to her home in Nanjing, The People's Republic of China.
Huang arrived in Sanford in October 2011 as the visiting instructor for Central Carolina Community College’s Confucius Classroom — a partnership with N.C. State University's Confucius Institute.
At CCCC, Huang taught students the Mandarin Chinese language and Chinese culture and customs. Outside the classroom, she continued to share her love and enthusiasm for the cultures of her homeland.
She brought “Traditions of China,” a photographic exhibition of the works of award-winning Chinese photographer Yong Xiao, to the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. She arranged for the North Carolina-Research Triangle Park (NC-RTP) Chinese Music Instruments Ensemble to perform “Among the Lights,” a tribute to the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival. At the college's campus in Pittsboro, she organized a cooking demonstration by celebrity chefs from China. She was also an active presence at many of the college's other events.
Huang gave numerous presentations about Chinese culture to civic organizations, clubs and schools as well.
“Ling was a fantastic addition to the college faculty these last two years,” said Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC president. “She became part of our family, and we look forward to her coming back to visit us again.”
The Nanjing Normal University professor of English came not just to teach, but also to learn — to immerse herself in American life, learn the culture and become acquainted with Americans. In reflecting on her time in the area, she said she learned from the people she met and taught.
“I found, despite differences, that people have the same feelings of love and friendship,” she said. “Though we cannot understand all languages, we have the same beautiful feelings inside. We have so many differences, but we have the same thing deep in our heart, so we are open, ready to accept all the differences in the world.”
Huang mentioned a few of the many people she met here: the college family who prepared her apartment for her arrival and befriended her, the neighbor who helped her look for a car, the stranger who pulled her car out of a ditch, those who took her to ballgames, to the state fair, and others who had been so willing to befriend and help her.
“They are just that kind of people — most of the people in Sanford — they give me that impression,” she said. “They feel it is their responsibility to help people around them. I've met so many. I learned a lot from this — to help more people in my life.”
While she said she is sad to leave, Huang is also anxious to get back to Nanjing and to her husband, Xinhua Daily newspaper journalist Bingshan Chen; her son, Qianfan; and family and friends. Qianfan, called “Fan,” attended East Lee Middle School for a time and took a summer engineering camp at N.C. State University. He plans to come back to America for his university education. Huang plans to come back for a visit then.
“The strangest thing I found after being here for a while: when I would go out of Sanford and my GPS said, ‘toward Sanford,’ I felt something warm inside,” Huang said. “I want to give my thanks to all the people I met. Thank you for being part of my life and making so many sweet memories that I can take back home and keep for the rest of my life. I love you all, I love Sanford, I love Central Carolina Community College.”