I can hardly believe it today is my one-year anniversary in Korea! Wow, time really flew by! I must say this has been the most exhilarating, life changing, and challenging adventure I’ve ever been on. However, I’ll forever be grateful for this opportunity abroad because it has shaped me in ways I never would have imagined.
Prior to moving to Korea, if you did not know me well, I assume people would have perceived me as someone that was relatively quiet, snobbish, and self-absorbed. In retrospect, I would say people assumptions about me were correct. I was very much to myself and life revolved mainly around me and mine. I would say my biggest identity flaw was the “I” syndrome. Often my siblings and cousins would get mad at me for always thinking about myself and what was convenient for me. (Yeah, I drove a lot of people crazy.) Over time, I realized what caused me to be so consumed with me was the lack of not knowing who I really was–so, instead of investing time on what and who really mattered I focused on trivial things such as, image, apparel, and status.
After getting married, I realized I did not need things and praise from others to make me feel complete as a human being. My beloved husband, Micah, has taught me the art of simplicity. I learned how to be content with what I already had and to appreciate the people in my life that I hold dear to my heart. Micah not only taught me the art of simplicity he taught me the beauty of communication. He had this way of pushing me out of my head and helping me put words to my thoughts. He is my Sankofa bird, constantly reminding me to look back from time to time to see what my past has taught me in the wake of my present stage in life.
For the past year, I’ve been living abroad in a foreign land. As I already mentioned, it has been the most exhilarating, life changing, and challenging adventure I’ve ever been on. Mainly because, as a foreigner, I constantly have to speak out loud. Whatever I say or do is a cultural exchange for my colleagues, students, and friends. Community is what makes this experience abroad so enriching. The necessity to be honest about who you are, who you allow to surround you and what you want in life, rings like a clanging alarm. If not careful or aware of these things, I can slowly become self-absorbed again. Therefore, my community keeps me upright and authentic in all that I say or do. The realization that no matter what, you are a leader worth paying attention to, and what makes the attention either good or bad is completely up to you.
Over the past 12 months, my heart has swelled for young children that are completely foreign but so welcoming and appreciative towards me. Of course, I had students that were the complete opposite. But the love that pressed my heart made me work harder to somehow reach them and build some type of rapport with them. There have also been people that found me, and I found them from all different parts of the world. Together we all had to bypass the barriers of language, culture, and customs to reach the truest sense of ourselves. These exploits in community have never been easy. The love and security we have found in each other have kept us pressing forward in the direction of change to dissipate our frailties that have kept us lost in our past rather than intentional about our present and future.
The intensity to love, the art of simplicity, the beauty in communication and the enriching experience of community. All of these lessons have shaped me by making me better as a woman, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher. I’m grateful for this opportunity; life is more vibrant and real because of it. What else can I say but thank you Korea and all of you that read this blog and spend time uplifting my spirit.
Friday, February 17, 2017