Today marks 4 months since the day I left America with my too many bags packed and my fear of the unknown. 4 whole months have gone by. That is just crazy. And truthfully it has flown by. I think of the fact that when I lived in London I would have been home already from that adventure that changed my life. And now after living in South Korea I know that I am not close to being ready to leave this beautiful country. I still have many more experiences and memories to be made. I have said this before and I will continue to say this but I just love my job and I adore my students. I love them more than they know and it’s hard to express that every day except with continuous smiles and encouragement with whatever they are doing. I am excited to watch them grow even moreso over the next year.
I think about how much I changed in the 4 months living abroad in London and how I have changed even more so from Korea. Truthfully it has had so many challenges and I am honestly such a stronger person for it. SO much happens every single day. Every hour something new happens unless I am hibernating in my apartment…but that rarely happens since I am constantly on the move. I wish I could keep everyone updated back home on every little detail and share every amazing story but I know that’s not possible. I have made a great friend here, Claire, who I consider a soul mate friend. One of those friends you meet first and think I want to be her friend…and then find out later she thought the same thing about you. and then instantly you are bestfriends. I am beyond thankful to have her in my life here. We experience so much together and we both know that this is one of those experiences that I think only the two of us will fully understand. And I know that’s okay. Sometimes I think that some memories and experiences are too precious to share on social media. It’s almost like the world doesn’t deserve to hear that one incredible thing that happened to you on that one random night. It was that special that you don’t need to share with the world or brag about it. You just keep it in your heart and remember it for life.
There are many moments like that here. Claire and I talk a lot about how we do miss home of course. The easiness of life in the states and the comfort. How we miss the smell of fresh laundry…which we both actually said at the same time one night which was really funny. We miss our friends and family and being able to go to a grocery store and ask where something is easily, or even just speak the same language to literally anyone. Korea has made me a more internally quiet person and a much better observer of life. I think this is a good thing. and so many things can be communicated with gestures and facial expressions..which we all know I have a lot of different facial experssions and I don’t hide them very well. It has also given me a much better perspective on life of an immigrant in the states. How tough it must be. I think how welcoming Korea is of foreigners and how kind people are and I know that the people in the states aren’t always that way. The USA is a country filled with immigrants and a melting pot and I think sometimes we forget that many of these people are brand new to the country and just as scared as I am living in South Korea.
Next week is already Christmas! I can’t believe it. I wish so bad I was home for it! I am thankful to say in my 26 years of life that I have never missed a Christmas from home. Although it will be hard I am thankful I have a family that I miss as much as I do and I have had 26 years of wonderful memories. I am going to spend Christmas in Gwangju and enjoy it here. Many people do celebrate Christmas here but it is not one of their major holidays like ours. It is more of a “couples” holiday where you go out to eat, give gifts and make it a special evening with your signifacant other. My friend Claire’s dad is half Indian so on Christmas Eve their tradition is to eat Indian food so we are going to this amazing Indian restaurant in Gwangju. It’s delicious and I’m really excited for it!
We only have two more weeks left of classes for students. That means that the 6th graders will graduate and move onto middle school! Sooooo bittersweet! I know it’s their time to go but they will always have a special place in my heart since they were the first group of students I ever taught. I have already gotten quite a few hugs from students and really sweet notes. I am having Christmas parties in all of my classes next week! I think it’s so great we can celebrate Christmas in class here and I can show them a piece of my culture from back home! It will be really fun 🙂
I have some exciting things planned over break in January and Feburary and I will be excited to share with you all about them! But for now let’s focus on the month of December and appreciating what we have and enjoying some good food and good company. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season all of you! Miss all of you.
Merry Christmas and love sent from South Korea,