I've been anticipating writing this post for a while now. The reason for the delay is because I was waiting for a package to arrive from my mum in Toronto. But this afternoon, when I got home from school, I saw not only the cute package sitting at my doorstep, but also a card... from someone else.
These past few days have been filled with beautiful gestures and wonderful surprises that have truly left me grinning like a fool... but a fool, with a full heart.
I was feeling a bit down over Christmas because, with the exception of my family, I hadn't heard from a few close friends back home. I didn't think it would be a problem for me, but I realize now, that it makes a difference when you're away from home over the holidays. Little gestures go a long way. It's one of the lessons I've learned this Christmas.
I started my winter hours at school on Monday this week. What do they involve? Well, seeing as how this is the break before the new school year starts in March, there's no students at school, except for the ones who are taking extra or special classes. I was supposed to have a 'winter camp' but it was cancelled due to a lack of interest from the students at my school. My co-teacher compensated by creating a class for me to teach twice a week, two hours each time, from this week till the end of January... to a grand total of five students. Today was supposed to be my first class... a grand total of zero students showed up.
The result? I get to sit and 'desk warm' at the coldest desk at school for half days, every day, from now until the end of January.
It could be worse. Rest assured, SFTC will be seeing a lot more action in the coming days, as I plan my escape to sunnier skies, somewhere tropical. Stay tuned!
So, yesterday, I wasn't looking forward to coming in to school. It was the first day back after the Christmas break, and after overdosing on 'happy', I dreaded having to sit, mute, in a cold staffroom.
Until I got to my desk to see a card and a Canada Post package waiting for me. Two friends, one from Toronto, and the other, from the Canadian NWT, had thought of me before the holidays and send treats in the post!
The card was from the same friend who sent me the stack of magazines earlier in the semester, when her father was visiting Korea. The card is now proudly displayed at my desk, right in between the caricature drawing of me, done by a student, and my timetable.
The package was from a dear friend I made while in journalism school. She, having traveled through Asia for many years, said she knew the difference a package from home would make. I was told to expect a card from her... but not a package! So, you can imagine my surprise when I opened the Canada Post package to find some lovely treats - a chocolate Santa (with ingredients listed in English AND French), some soap, a non-tacky, non-Koreanized reporter's notebook, and a magnet with the Canada 2010 Winter Olympics logo on it (now proudly displayed on my fridge at home).
I can't begin to express how I felt, sitting at my desk, in the cold hours of the morning. Despite the chaos with my schedule, I felt such a warmth fill my heart as I read and reread the cards over and over.
Thank you, friends!
Then, this afternoon, after I stopped off to pick up some soup from the restaurant across the street, I came home to find the package from my mum and the card (from a friend who I've met exactly ONE time in my life).
The package from mum contained neatly packed items that I'd asked for... including eye-drops that I desperately needed to battle the dry Seoul winter. My brother argued and said I could easily find it here, but it's a matter of comfort and principle. The stuff I used in Toronto worked well, so why switch?
The card was an unexpected and absolute heart-warming surprise. It's the first time during my time here, that I've actually taken a step back and thought about everyone I know at home. About the people I've met along the way.
In the card, this friend mentioned that it's very rare when you meet someone and have an absolute, instant connection. I couldn't agree more. And when it happens, you truly have to treasure it. Despite our single meeting, I feel as though I've known this person for a much longer time... and for that, I consider myself blessed. Thank you, dear Clubdir (not seals)!
So the lesson from this is that no matter how far away you gravitate from home, sometimes, it helps to have home come to you (whether in the form of packages, long e-mails or cards in the post), because it reminds you of... well, you! All it takes sometimes, is the comfort of familiar handwriting or an inside joke to quell even the saddest of thoughts.
Because it's very easy to forget you, sometimes, when you're off trying to discover other parts of yourself. When home comes to you, it helps you remember that you aren't really alone. That even through the silence and chaos, home is always with you.
So thanks, dear friends and family! You've managed to warm my heart this winter's day. And I couldn't be more blessed.
Stay tuned for the New Year's special.
Image courtesy of Google Images