Monday, June 27, 2011

The Last Days

I know that everyone (the proverbial everyone) tends to look back on the last series of whatever it is as they are walking out the door to their next adventure; and honestly, I always mock them for being so basic. However, now that it's my time to depart, and I've actually moved halfway around the world, learned a new language and eaten dog soup I feel like these people (the proverbial they) might have actually had something in this whole looking-back thing.
I started off in Korealand completely amazed, a little overwhelmed and absolutely breathless. I vividly remember that first day, the brilliance of the neon lights, the breathtaking heights of the buildings and the consistent bustle that is Korea. I remember eating 김밥 and the sensations that surrounded that first bite of sticky sweet, neon yellow radish.
Afterwards, the year goes a little bit fuzzy, there were people, parties and cities. Journeys about the entire country, mud, island hopping, new peeps and settling into my school routine. The end of three months and being finished with Korea: ready to move on to my next adventure. Getting a piss shower in China and walking my legs off with Alex. Following that I met Nerina and everything changed. I remember a sad and lonely feeling that encapsulated the Christmas holidays. Vowing to never spend another Christmas without my family. Then Thailand, riding an elephant, the river, ladyboys, obscene shows with Rich and Tim and the Earth mother with Lauren and Nerina. Does it hurt? What? Digestion. 
Jamarcus. Then there was the ever-present pull of homesickness- 9 months into my journey after the glittery facade of travelling faded and I needed to go home. A whirlwind trip in the desert then back again. Saying goodbye more times than necessary and the shitstorm
Now I sit here, books in piles, clothes in piles, dishes in piles. Glancing around this little two bedroom space that has been my secret lair for the last year. I've been slowly saying goodbye to all 1,000 of the students that have made me giggle, smile, scream, cry with joy and exhaustion. I look at all their little faces in front of me, their groans of sadness when I declare this is the last class we will ever have together.
I go home and I feel the weariness pulling at my bones. I'm. So. Done. I look back on the year as a whole and I feel so much glory and happiness from the entire experience. The children have taken my heart and ripped it into pieces, a little bit for each of them. Regardless of what happened, the things we may have said or done, these children will forever maintain so much of me. They ultimately helped me grow- pulled me from the hair straight out of a wandering adolescence into the sometimes cold embrace of adulthood. I would give and do anything if these children so much as looked at me with need.
The idea that I could actually care about 1,000 small children, from a community, a country, a culture so distinctly different from my own is grounding. I know what I need to in order to survive successfully in this world. I may not have had a man (to their great dismay and speculation) to hold my hands through this experience but I've built a relationship with a community and forged a relationship with Nerina that will forever buoy my soul. Whenever I'm down all I have to do is think back on this time and remember that ultimate happiness. 
As Shakespeare put it, "Parting is such great sorrow" but isn't the bittersweet feeling of knowing that you have achieved something greater than yourself the ultimate goal? I know that I've given these children a gift, regardless of whether I actually taught them anything I know that I've made a difference because I made English fun. For myself, I know that I've accomplished several of my own personal goals and I'm working on ticking off the lists on my bucketlist
Life couldn't be any better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment