From the beginning, I was uncertain I wanted to be here, unprepared beyond words, and my capabilities as a teacher? the most unsure I have ever been about anything. But failure doesn't scare me as much as it should, and luckily, the potential of that was never enough to scare me away.
The last year has been a ride. One that goes as high as it does low with a lot of craziness and laughter and confusion in between. One that I barely remember and yet can't (and don't want to) remember a life without. One I am so thankful for beyond words, measure, and my being in itself.
School life, for me, has been a dream. My many Korean co-workers have been both kind and welcoming and we share an unexplainable bond despite having never shared the same language. They make being here easy even on my most confusing day. And I never take for granted how very lucky I am for that.
And then there's my students. Who make even my worst days better, without even trying. With their goofy American waves, overly excited to see me attitudes, and blind and true effort in learning, even when they have no idea what I am saying. They made choosing to stay an effortless decision and will make my one day goodbye undoubtedly unbearable. They are my proof that I was so very wrong in assuming I could never love them as much as my little ones. So very wrong and yet so very thankful.
And last, but certainly not least, are my friends. My day one'ers, my weird and ever so eccentric Jeongeup family, and my extra special ones. The ones who make being here worth it and who will have forever changed my life in ways they may never really know. The ones who truly understand both the hardships and comforts of being away, the ever so confusing life in Korea, and the ones who without effort, or judgement, so easily understand me.
And let's not forget about the travel. The freedom, the ease, and the proximity. With 3 amazing trips to the Philippines, Japan, and Hong Kong, I can't help but laugh at the times I said "I never want to go to Asia." Life has thrown me a lot of curveballs, but this is by far my favorite and most laughable one.
So thank you for the year, Korea. Thank you for one of my most special and memorable anniversaries to date. For the reminder that communication and love is so much more than words. For the memories and relationships that have changed me in ways I still do not know. And for this very special 365 days in another random series of my never-ending mini lives.
I couldn't know then what I know now but I would choose it every time.
And hell, am I ever so thankful that I gambled on this.