Friday, October 11, 2013

One Year Koreaversary

The past week or so has been quite the emotional roller coaster of my love/hate relationship with Korea. Even just today, one second I was hating the 3 women in the line in front of me in the grocery store because they were still shopping and checking out and trying to find their point card while a huge line formed behind them but they didn't care at all, and the next second the lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that the other cash register was now open (when usually a Korean would probably just snag the spot in line for themselves).

I'm even conflicted if I think I'd call myself a sentimental person or not. Part of me says no because I don't usually cry or get too upset about leaving things/people, but at the same time, those of you that know me really well know that I can't throw ANYTHING away...I often keep things "just in case" or because it has some sort of "sentimental value."

Regardless of this, I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately. I've been constantly thinking of all my "lasts"
The last time I'll be in Seohyeon
The last time I'll ride the school bus
The last time I'll eat (fill in the blank)
The list goes on...
And then there are the more important nostalgic/sentimental moments like the last time I'll see people such as my students or friends.

I had to say goodbye to my students on Tuesday and it, surprising, wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I'm used to it as a teacher, or maybe I'm just not a dweller on things I can't control. Now don't get me wrong, there are a few students I can't BELIEVE I'm never going to see again and they may very well forget about me, but they won my heart in this country and it makes me very sad to know that I won't see their adorable little faces every single day, even if they are being a pain in my rear half the time. I'm also going to miss my third graders. They had a hard time understanding why I would leave them and I didn't really know what to say. Now THAT'S a hand-full of 5 students, good Lord, but I'll still miss the joy and humor they brought to me on their good days.
My one dearest and truest love, Ian. 

Iguanas (3rd Graders) not in their normal habitat. 

This is how they usually behave and you can see my reaction quite clearly. 

My baby 5's. Click on their picture to see them sing all adorable like. 

Saying goodbye to one of my 7's class. They thought it was hilarious to sing me happy birthday in the way we usually sing to them so that's whats happening. Click on the picture to see them attack me as I'm trying to leave the classroom. Also, here is the link to this group of kids singing and dancing their rendition of a youtube song:

One of the darling girls I've had for the entire year, even when she was a 6 year old. 

My other 7's class of goofballs. 

My immersion class that I will miss EVER so much!

All of theses students in all of these classes and working at this school is a huge accomplishment, I think, to have in my belt as a teacher. I've learned a lot about teaching, I've learned a lot about students, and I've learned the most about patience. Hopefully never again will I have to be that random English Teacher who comes into a classroom for 30 minutes to sing songs, teach some words, do an activity and leave, with the most little respect possible. But did I learn from this experience? Yes I did. I learned that I REALLY want to be in my own classroom with my own students for the whole day. I learned that teaching is my passion and for all the reasons that teaching in America has to offer. I want to get to know a group of students, call them my own, help them learn things, and form bonds with them. Shoot I'll even take a class of 30+ kids on my own because there's no way they can be as challenging as what I've come across in this country.

On the other hand, I'm also feeling very nostalgic about being back in the good ole PNW. The other day I was sitting in Starbucks and I was like "man, this is some Seattle type music, drinking my warm coffee on this fall day" and I realized how badly I can't wait to be back in America. I'll be able to see my friends and family, eat many kinds of delicious food (I've had at least 5 food dreams that I can remember), and do cool typical "American" things like eat thanksgiving dinner, watch sports, and have people understand what I'm saying and what I want.

That being said, I'm also scared out of my MIND to go back to America. A year isn't that long, but a lot can, and has changed in the past year. Almost every single one of my friends (if not all) have some pretty intense professional jobs. And every single one of them is spread either across the state or across the country. When I left, we were all in the same little town hanging out at each others houses 5 minutes apart. That's not the life anymore and it's scary. I also will be living at home (love my mom and dad but that doesn't mean it'll be easy after living on my own for the last 6 years). I also will be living in Spokane (not my number one place of choice to reside). And the real kicker is I'll have to find a job! YAY! One of the huge perks of going to Korea was that a job was just handed to I'll have to seek one out in a really intense manner.

I guess overall what I'm trying to say is I'm very grateful for my experience in Korea. I've learned a lot, I've seen a lot, I've done a lot. I now appreciate other cultures but I also appreciate my culture a lot more as well. I've experienced love, heartbreak, and the ever revolving "wheel" that is Korean expat life (one of the biggest downsides of this country, if you ask me). I've tried so many new things, from food to activities, and I've grown a lot as a person (I hope). I also now have a strange accent according to my sister although I strongly disagree. Number one phrase I use in this country..."Oh Korea...."

Anyways, those are my current thoughts. I have a lot running through my mind about what will happen when I get home, but in the meantime I'm about to go on a 6 week long adventure to Southeast Asia! That itinerary includes the following:
Bangkok, Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phenom Phen), Vietnam (Ho Chi Mihn, Hanoi, Halong Bay), Laos (Luang Prabang), back to Thailand (Chaing Mai, Ko Tao, Krabi, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket) and finally down to Bali.
Pretty FREAKING excited for that, so I'm going to go ahead and let my thoughts be consumed by that instead of the stress/joy that awaits for me at home.


1 comment:

  1. Well, I am super sentimental and I totally cried reading this post at the thought of having to say goodbye to your students (don't tell anyone though). You will do great back home, I have a funny feeling.