My Life at Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong 2011-2013

Hug Away

hug |həg| verb [ with obj. ]: squeeze (someone) tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection

960020_10152880700015077_2019035590_nAnother tradition in LPC followed right after, on Thursday morning: The last Tutor gathering. Julie’s tutor group had breakfast brunch in her flat; with french toast and rye bread, cheese and fruit salad, ham, bacon and so much more. We really dug in, while talking about departures and dwelling in the memories of the block activities and other events of the year. We also, like last year, went through Julie’s good-bye ritual; the tutee hugs. Some years ago, Julie was given Kathleen Keating’s Little Book of Hugs, which describes the origin, purpose and mechanism of different kinds of hugs, and ever since, Julie goes through all of them with her tutor group in the end of the year, letting pairs of First- and Secondyears perform the individual hugs. There is the bear hug, the A hug, the hug while running, the triplet hug, cheek hug and many, many more. The hug while running is performed, for example, by two students who are late for classes and meet while running into different directions, hug each other very briefly and continue running. The bear hug is usually performed by someone tall and someone small, one who hugs around the shoulder and the other around the waist. The bear hug is a very strong and emotional hug and best for close friends or relatives in order to support, farewell or welcome. In the end of the tutor brunch, we all came together for a group hug. I stood next to Julie, and in the middle of the circle was Willow, clearly uncertain what to thing about being encircled by all the tutees. Julie spoke some last words of farewell and good wishes and we hugged tightly. For a few moments we stayed like that, yet unwilling to leave this flat and return to packing, and slowly, some silent tears rolled down cheeks – forecast of the general departure drama that was yet to come.

Photo © Michelle Kwok

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