I have been in Korea for a year.
Today is the last day of school and I’m writing this from my desk as the office is descending into utter chaos while the grade three students storm in and out with questions for their home room teachers about if they’re having a snack party later, what shoes should they wear to graduation tomorrow, can they come check to see if the room is clean enough yet?
I go back to America the day after tomorrow and while I’m gone the new class schedules and office arrangements will be chosen. So this could very well be my last post from my little corner desk in the grade three teachers office on the second floor.
It was at this desk that I sat on the first day overwhelmed and daunted by the year ahead of me and I’m still sitting here a year later thinking about how fiercely I love these kids and how much I will my third graders after they graduate tomorrow.
After six months I felt this need to write about every little detail. I made tons of posts about school, about Korea, about my feelings. But now that it’s been a year, I am just happy. In this little moment right now I am so incredibly content.
A year is both a long time and a short time. It’s far too long to have gone without seeing my family. Too long with out my friends or a culture I can operate in without thinking.
But it’s also quite short. The seasons passed quickly each bringing a new exciting expectation of what was to follow.
For the first time in my life I got to watch as the earth does its beautiful thing of melting out of winter into bright colorful new life. The pink cherry blossoms gave way to a stuffy heat that felt like home. Those summer storms, so familiar and yet so different, eventually slowed down to reveal a slowly changing landscape as the leaves started to shift into deeper warmer colors. That perfect moment that hovers between summer and fall was gone in the blink of an eye, quickly replaced by a bitter cold. Soon the warm leaves fell and were covered by snow, just as they were when I first arrived.
I am more excited than I can even put into words to go back home and see my family. I went crazy buying presents for everyone hoping to be able to give them just a glimpse, a spec, and sliver of the amazing year that I have had in this fascinating country.
I’m very proud of the year that I just lived. The only goal I have ever had when it comes to my career was to work hard at something that makes me truly happy. And I get to do that every single day. That’s some kind of miracle.
I enjoy each day with the knowledge that this reality, my little life here in Daejeon with my kids, will not last forever. Even if I stay in Korea for “a while” it will still be only a piece of the rest of my life.
But that’s why I write this blog. That’s why I take pictures, and process, and read, and write some more. Because someday when I leave for good these are the things, along with the memories buried forever into my heart, that I will be left with.
For the rest of my life I will be thankful to have had this year. For those of you who have followed me through it, you have no idea how much it means to me. Truly.
I hope you’ll stick around for another year 🙂
As always, thank you for reading. I hope this finds you well.