Monday, 17 May 2010

100 countdown

I seem to have come full circle.

This past week was absolutely emotionally draining for me. I received some news from home that shook me up a little bit, adding to an already exhausted body from some experiences in the weeks prior.

But, I'm OK now. It's funny how sometimes in life, we find ourselves moving forward without looking at what's gone by, when what we really need to do is stop and take a moment to reflect on what's happened.

This week, I plan to rest. I have to. May has chugged on forward, taking me through a tailspin of emotions and feelings that I haven't experienced in a long time.

I mentioned not too long ago that I plan on finishing my contract and heading back to Toronto at the end of August. Although I'm not heavily concerned about my lack of employment upon getting back, I am worried about my... self.

I wonder if the self I encountered in Korea will go back with me to Toronto. On many levels, I want her to. My mum asked me the other day if I feel less confused about life now, than I did before. I couldn't really answer her properly because I'm not quite sure. Experiences that I've had here have made me question my beliefs and thought processes a little bit.

As an example, what I've been dwelling on recently is this: Is what I say I want in life, really what I want? Or am I just saying it because I know it's what other people want for me?

I bet you're laughing! I find myself laughing at the silliness of it all sometimes as well.

But as the days pass by, I can't help but hope that the lessons I've learned here will continue on with me as I rebuild what I left back in Toronto. A positive to all this is that I finally feel ready to face situations that I've put on the back-burner for far too long. That feigned strength I used to put on all those months ago, finally feels real.

On a completely different note, last Saturday was Teacher's Day in Korea. As a result, I received a stream of letters from students in various grades, expressing their thoughts about English class and... well... me! One student even paired her letter with a box of throat candy because she was sad I'd been sick for these past couple of months. I tell you, these simple gestures go a long way in helping make up for the chaos I'm put through sometimes.

One of my letters read as follows:
Hello ~ S teacher!
Today is the day of Teacher!!
I thank you unconditionally because you do many things for me.
For example, you learned my name by heart, you smile every day and you inspect my English diary.
I want to be good at English. Please help me ~ keep it up.
I don't know if this is the right grammar?
But, are you OK?
Do you know my mind? I love you ~ and I respect you.
You are very pretty ~ more than a flower.
It's true. Believe me please.
I love you x100000000000000000.
Have a nice day.
Oh!! Can you inspect my English diary next week?
I will also write on the weekend.
Bye bye! ~ See you next week.
I must say, I teared up a bit at this. I've never received such genuine gratitude in my life. I didn't expect it, really. This particular student keeps an English diary and brings it to me everyday. We sit and spend a few minutes looking over her entries, while discussing her thoughts and ideas. It's actually one of the most rewarding experiences for me as well. It's during times like these when I feel like I'm actually making a positive impact on them.

Sigh! I will definitely miss these moments.



  1. Life has become less confusing for me while I'm here, but my self-confidence has plummeted. Not because I'm not doing a bad job here, but it's the realization that this might be the only decent job that I'm actually qualified for. As a result, the prospect of finding work back home scares me. I'm worried about my career.

    (How come everyone got cool stuff for Teacher's Day? I only got a 1000-won chocolate bar.)

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  3. Your post made me stay in your blog, reading some of your writing.

    As one of Koreans living in Seoul, I sincerely wish that you made good memories and nice experience in my country.

    Besides, as a mother of a baby girl, I envy your students. They must be happy to have a good teacher like you. I can guess from your Teachters' day. Usually, students always know first the sincere heart of good teachers.

    Teaching is the greatest service which we can give in our lives. You already have the opportunity to do such a great job. INVU.

  4. Coming back is harder then leaving. Trust me. It took me many long months to readjust to Toronto. The people you know here really will not understand the things that you are going to talk about - many of them just won't care because they have no frame of reference for really LIVING abroad as opposed to travelling.
    I still miss my students and wonder about them, and it's been 2 years. Teaching is amazing and you will really value your experiences.
    Also, when coming back you will realize how truly awesome Toronto / home is. A million things you used to take for granted will suddenly seem like the most amazing things ever.
    -Tara, from hart house :)


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