Fall in Korea is really spectacular. Over the past few weeks the leaves have burst into color.
Most days are sunny and cool: Perfect for sporting teacher sweaters and a latte in the morning before school.
This last week was a week of new beginnings. A new session at school, Halloween decorations put away, Monthly tests graded, everything back to the normal ritual.
My Kindergarten is now one of my favorite classes of the day. Some days they drive me crazy, but I no longer get off for lunch looking frazzled and stressed. The atmosphere in the classroom feels more structured and organized, and I´m thrilled that they have stopped speaking so much Korean. They kids also seem to have finally come to really have a strong relationship with me. At first, it was a battleground. They didn´t like the new rules I set, or being in trouble for not following them. Waiting in lines! Staying in their seats! Not screaming! It was torturous. Why, Grace Teacher? Why these terrible rules? But now, the classroom feels happy and I am happy. Ellie observed me last week and said she was very impressed by the English and organization. Winning! Granted, not every day is great, but its the small battles.
This week I also turned 25. Quarter century baby. After work, the staff (including my 4th graders) brought me cake and I blew out candles and after work some of us went out for Shabu Shabu (my favorite).
Saturday I took myself out shopping in Myeongdong and bought lots of things. Shoes, a purse, a dress, a ring…..it was glorious. H&M is glorious.
Last night we went out to Gangnam to celebrate with drinks and dancing. I feel very grateful to have such great friends and co-workers and I had a great night.
Turning 25, more than other birthdays, has caused me to stop and reflect on what I´ve done in the last 25 years and what the future holds in store for me. Twenty-five really snuck up on me..where did the time go?
When I look back, I´m happy with the choices I´ve made and feel blessed. I´ve climbed a volcano in Pucon, skiied in the Andes, walked the steps of Machu Picchu, hiked around Patagonia with two of my best friends, danced in the salt flats of Bolivia and star gazed in the Atacama desert, and now I´m eating kimchi in Korea. I´ve written my own column in Chile and interned for a magazine, a publishing house, and a blog. I´ve taught English to all ages and levels. I´ve met the most incredible people in these last 2 or 3 years—of all ages and backgrounds; some rich, some poor. Travellers are a unique sort, and hearing their stories has widen my perspective. The world seems a little smaller, more connected.
Granted, not everyone has the opportunity or desire to travel, and by no means would I think less of someone who hasn´t travelled extensively. But, for my own personal journey into adulthood, it´s been the most important thing that has ever happened to me.
25 feels good. I feel confident, self-assured, and best of all, happy.
After Korea, I will probably go home. From there, I´m looking to perhaps do a Masters in Education…but no matter what, I feel a sense of place. I have confidence that positive energy and hard work lead to good results and that if you treat people well, good karma will follow. The things I used to think were so important; your job title, you ability to make lots of money, your academic status, seem less like badges to be won and more of an end to a means.
I think the most confusing part of being in your mid twenties is that there are TOO MANY choices. Some people are getting married and having babies, which can make you feel like you will be alone forever and never have those things, some people have booming careers, which makes you feel like maybe you´ve taken some wrong steps and should already be in a stable, degree related job right now, and others, which I suppose would include myself, and traveling around, and in some respects, avoiding some hard truths about life. There is no right answer, no right path, and that´s what makes it so confusing.
Pero, así es la vida!
Thank you to everybody who made this a great birthday. Sending lots of love to my friends and family back home in the States!