by Rachel Lynn, Greenheart Travel English Teacher in South Korea
As I sit in Mr. Breeze’s coffee cafe, listening to Busca Busca, and sipping on a smoothie that taste like a mix between citric acid and bleach, it has dawned on me… today marks a significant day for me in Korea. It is August 3, the last day of my two week summer camp, and the beginning of my two week summer vacation. My first semester as “Rachel Teachaaaa” at Yeon Ji Elementary has come to a close. “Incredible,” I think to myself as I sit here reflecting back on the past six months. Six months? Really… six months?
I have taught an entire semester and in two weeks, I’ll have lived in Korea for six months. Time really does fly by. It’s almost unbelievable that I’m halfway through and as I sit here, a mixture of emotions leaves me unsure of whether I feel happy, robbed, nervous, anxious, or disheartened. I feel happy to be closer to seeing my family and friends at home, robbed of a my time, nervous about being home in six months, anxious to be home in six months, anxious to see what the next six months will bring, and disheartened that six amazing months have come and gone so fast… here’s to hoping the next six will linger.
When I first got to Korea, I felt like time was going by so fast, and then suddenly, when I began to miss my family, it seemed to be passing slowly. Now, I just feel like it’s moving in intervals… some weeks go by fast and others drag. Looking back on my past six months, I have made so many good memories in the short time that I have been here. I have met some really incredible people, made good friends, gotten to know people completely different from myself, lived in a city, ran into an ocean fully clothed, developed a new scar, tried incredibly strange foods, climbed to the top of the highest mountains, learned a decent amount of a new language, and formed good relationships in my school with both my coworkers and my students.
I feel as though the past six months have been a real success for me. Coming to Korea was a journey of self-discovery for me… a way to stand on my own. I have surely learned how to be on my own, how to be myself, how to be patient, how to take risks, and live a bit more spontaneously. Every day is an adventure for me, and whether the day is good or bad, I seem to learn something regardless. I appreciate the differences across humanity more now, and almost crave more interactions with people completely different from myself. I have come to realize how the people of the world are so different yet so alike in many ways. We all give and receive love the same way. Our cores are built from the same thing, as we all have the same basic needs, but we flourish differently due to our surroundings. It really is a beautiful thing when I think about it.