Friday, July 23, 2010
Post year 1: period of reflection
Sitting in the plane unable do little more than repeatedly scrunch and uncurl my legs, I waited for some much awaited shut eye. Instead my eyes remained open or merely flickered during several films on the tiny screen rocking on the front of my seat. Yes rocking. The person in front of me must have mistaken the plane for a motion stimulation ride.
Perhaps a extra dose of sleep deprivation was what I needed to (strangely enough...) clear my mind. After walking onto my final plane and I spotted my seat... with plenty of legroom. Unfortunately for the person to my right, my eyelids forcibly began to close and remained that way until the end of the flight. However, as my body finally gave into exhaustion my mind felt rejuvenated... at least until I enter my next home.
On July 19th, I landed in Korea, caught the FINAL bus to my guesthouse, and felt myself smile as I realized that Korea would once again be part of my life and I a part of it.
When I left Pyeongchang I was a bundle of emotions. Yes, I knew that returning to visit was possible and very likely, but as with all temporary stages in life my situation and role would not remain the same. However, looking back on my final days I realized that the words of my final speech became real. With the current group of teachers remaining at the high school, my students were in good hands. Of course I will miss them, but I knew I did not have to worry about them.
The final days' events sped by without a second to pause and take in everything with a sense of closure. Last classes, class photos, gift and card distribution, teacher dinner after teacher dinner (회식), packing of bags and boxes, a closing speech, final meal with high school co-workers, a car ride to 강릉 (Gangneung), strangely "ordinary" goodbyes to homestay, and.. a few brief moments in Seoul before dragging bags through the Incheon Airport... the chain of events seem like a blur. I attempted to remain reticent and put-together throughout the entire 2 layover journey. I rode home with a friend and watched a famous Korean film that presented a twisted/bloody, but artistically done story and walked towards my parents.
It had been over a year since our last meeting but conversations sprang up just like they had when I first left.
To be honest, I didn't think I needed to come to Minnesota. Of course I wanted to see my family and friends, but the actual need was not there. However, when I arrived home I knew that coming home for a 3-week visit was perfect (even with the lovely oral surgery that was awaiting me a couple days later).