From the BK to the SK
A few students interviewed me back in October maybe for the school newspaper. One of the teachers asked me some follow-up questions recently that the students hadn't asked, like what I see for myself in the future and what I like best about my job, things like that.
I found myself giving a much more emotional answer than planned for her last question:
"If you could say one thing for all of the students to read, what would it be?"
I sat there for a second thinking.
In all the places I've been fortunate enough to travel, I've never had any experience comparable to this. Italy opened my eyes to see the rest of the world; China opened my mind to understand the rest of the world; and Korea opened my heart to explore this crazy thing we call life.
And in every city and every country I've been in, there are those memories that tattoo themselves onto your soul and forever changes the person you are, it forever reminds you of a feeling that is so real it's almost touchable and forever makes your curiousity run wild.
When I was in Italy, I'll never forget the man at the cafe in Amsterdam, and I'll never forget the moment I stepped out of the airport in Paris. \When I close my eyes, I can smell the summer air in Paris and feel the rain against my skin in Amsterdam, and I can feel my entire body pulled back in time to a moment, a second that changed my entire future.
In China, though I tried and experienced more than I can still comprehend. I'll never forget what it was like climbing through the Tiger Leaping Gorge and, after trekking for a day and a half, watching the clouds lazily swim by me at eye-level. I'll never forget that rush, that feeling of climbing - in a German man's velcro sandals mind you - to what felt like the top of the world.
And then there was that moment in Shanghai, when I spent my entire Friday night in one of the world's most electrifying cities playing with a 6-month-old little boy wearing squeaky shoes who will never know how important that moment was to me. I'm sure that right now he is about a year and a half, talking and walking and living his life, and he will never remember me. Isn't that weird? I think about that little boy all the time, about his innocent laughter and his one-tooth smile that lit up the entire world for me that night, but he'll never remember me.
It makes me think so much about my students. Realistically, let's be honest - these kids aren't truly learning English from me. You can't truly do that with a language unless you immerse yourself in that country and culture (my opinion). Maybe they'll forget their lessons on idioms or asking favors or ordering at a restaurant, but I'd like to think that they'll never forget me.
But what I really think about is, for the most part, they're the ones teaching me more than I could ever ask for.
So when the teacher asked me, "If you could say one thing to the students to read, what would it be?", it was like my heart grew a mouth and spoke for me.
I am so grateful to all of the students more than they'll ever understand, because they don't realize how positively they've changed my life and the person I will be in the future. There is nothing more I can say than thank you, and that I will be so forever changed by this experience in a way that is beyond measure.

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