I can’t tell you why

I can’t tell you why you should or shouldn’t teach in Korea. Just as I cannot tell you everyone should go to college or study abroad in college, I cannot say that someone who isn’t traveling isn’t “truly experiencing life”.

In our own ways, we are all living life and our experiences are all anomalies and our entire lives, fleeting moments in the continuum of time. The mosaic of us is that which makes us beautiful. We are uniquely broken pieces that alone have unfulfilled potential, but together, we make something whole and indescribable. We need each other.

I’ve been busy lately. Not with tasks or events or trips. I’ve been busy being immersed in the moments. I’ve been busy absorbing every laugh, every tear, every hug, and every emotion. Part of me fears that if I don’t regularly record my experiences, that I’ll forget the memories I most wanted to keep. Good memories are fantastic. I’ve laughed more than I ever hoped to deserve and I’ve seen wondrous things in the world and I’ve known privilege, comfort, and love. Yet, I’ve also felt things I wish I could forget and I’ve cried tears that have changed me, and those things are equally important parts of what makes me, me.

I fear that in true vulnerability, my honesty will both expose me and isolate me. Nevertheless, the people who matter will find a way to stay, and I couldn’t imagine living a life of insincerity. I am done justifying my choices to others and more importantly, I’m done justifying them to myself.

Recently, as I entered one of my classes, one of my new favorite students sweetly asked me, “Teacher, may you help me, please.” That says it all to me. I’ve only ever wanted to help. Just today, I was taking a slow route to work on Babs, my gorgeous bike, when I realized I had extra time and decided to stop in the park to sit and look at the cherry blossoms. Not long after sitting down, the Korean man and woman having a makeshift picnic, complete with music, offered me a cup of makgeolli, a delicious Korean drink made from wheat and rice. This man’s simple English was both comical and hospitable and although it may not be entirely kosher to have three cups of Makgeolli an hour before work, I got to taste the best homemade kimchi of my life and had some great laughs with some Incheon locals. There’s nothing else to it than the sweet kindness (and curiosity) of a stranger.

I hope you find kindness wherever you are, and that you smile and laugh with someone you love today.

7 thoughts on “I can’t tell you why

  1. Hello! I am very happy to have found your blog. It has such awesome pictures and each of your posts have really helped to me to gain perspective on a foreigner’s experience teaching esl in South Korea.
    That being said, I believe you said you work for Pukinchon SLP Institute? Right outside of Bucheon, right? I have an interview with them this weekend, so I’d like some advice on what you think of the institute! You can answer here, or email if you feel more comfortable that way.
    Also, will you be staying on longer? Once I accept a job offer I won’t actually be starting until August.

    1. I also have an interview with Pukinchon SLP Institute and was wondering what you thought of working there? and Genie, if you accepted the job

      1. Thanks for reaching out! I would love to answer any questions you have via email!

  2. I have a daughter that is considering a position at this Institute as well. Could you please answer a few of my concerns prior to her leaving? It would be greatly appreciated. I can be reached via email

    1. I’d be happy to answer your questions! Just shoot me an email with your questions and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible.

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