Thursday, July 2, 2009
July has arrived subtly over the green ridges of the Apsan mountains here in Daegu, South Korea, and I am facing a new chapter of my journey here. I dub this one sweet and sour. Reality has come knocking at my door, I have been refusing to answer, looking through the key hole and wishing that my visitor would just leave. It doesn't quite ever work that way. It always returns in some form or another. I am deciding to embrace it now so as not to have it come back and visit me in later years, resulting in something more emotional or ugly than the present. I like to think of the summer months in Korea as the harvest time. All the new teachers begin to come, and all the old begin to leave. Reality's estranged side of the family that is visiting me now as I have come to know so fondly is named "wrapping it up." Yesterday, I went to a good bye party for four different people. This past Sunday, I also said good bye to two other friends of mine from church. I will be one of the last of my group of friend's to leave, except for the few who are or have resigned. I hate being left, I would rather leave than be left. The feeling leaves me with an inexplainable lack of words to describe the feelings in my heart or how the blood begins to pulsate in a different manner through my veins.
"Wrapping it up" and I have a few tea dates ahead of us. I am not sure which tea I should buy in preparation for it, I must be careful because my visitor's family tends to be picky. "Wrapping it up" has many siblings. There was "Wrapping it up Austin", "Wrapping it up Germany", and the most recent one was "Wrapping it up Lubbock College Years." Each sibling was different, and preferred a different kind of tea. One was mild and decaf camomile. The other one wanted Chai, and the last one wanted Passion Tea from Starbucks. I have a feeling that this visitor will not want green tea, even though it is the Asian sibling. We will sit outside and enjoy the summer weather when it is not too hot, and have tea multiple times over the next two months. At the end of these two months, when the summer sun begins to fade and the breeze begins to hint at the coming of fall, I will have my final visitor in Daegu, South Korea. That unavoidable September month will bring a rollercoaster of emotions, and something stronger than tea, by that I mean coffee. = ) My final friend is named "Say what you need to say." I will spend time with those who mean most to me here that are left, and have deeply moving and beautiful talks over coffee. Then I will board a big jetplane on September 22nd, that will take me to the next chapter that I have yet to name. It is really too soon to say now, but I will tell you when the time comes closer.
Why I tend to struggle more with my current visitor than any of the other siblings of the past is, because there are SO many DIFFERENT feelings associated with "Wrapping it up Asia." I revel in the thought of no longer teaching the same tedious monotonous curriculum every 3 months to rude or overworked children. I revel in knowing that I will not be stared at in Italy. I will have access to a bathtub, an oven, and to family! On the other end of the spectrum, I have invested so much, in so many people here, and it grieves me to leave them. To not know if they will ever have changed hearts or lives. Leaving my church family here will tear me apart on some levels. This is my first time to not shop like a consumer in a market for a church, but ask God how I can be a part of my church instead of just criticizing it. The thought of leaving certain students of mine also grieves me deeply. There are specific ones that I love so much, and know that I encourage them since they are outcasts in their own culture or family. I have been pushed and shaped so much in this place that it will always hold a special place in my heart, and yet if you asked if I wanted to do it again, I would say no. Too many extremes on both ends of the spectrum. I haven't cried yet, I don't really know when it will happen. Right now, I am doing the only thing I can, stocking up on different kinds of tea so my visitor will not be disappointed. I fear not the future or what it holds, rather I want to live in my present well. Have a cup of your favorite tea for me this week.