Saturday, February 19, 2011

And then there were two

Maria and Jesse: lovely friends, deep thinkers, inspirational

One more palace visit

Showing the traditional Lunar New Years' bow

Students wore their hanbok to school for Seollal (Lunar New Year holiday)

Tteok bokki for reading club snack: guaranteed to be an orange, sticky mess. Good thing Tina wore her nicest white shirt for such an occasion

Jasmin...or a little Seollal doll?

Our last birthday party of the year... Sean went all out

Jasmin waited all year long for her birthday party. So of course, she was granted princess status for demonstrating such incredible patience

After her crowning, she was presented with a scepter and given reign over the kingdom of classroom two

My girls

Me, Kelly, and Pikachu

Reading club loves, Anthony and Rafael. Always, always, always happy


Last bibimbap day for lunch at school. Bittersweet.

Once a month for 18 months...what will I look forward to now for that one magical Wednesday in the third week of every month??!!

To my nine year olds: I will miss you beyond belief...I think we're actually family now

Joseph: You have made me smile so much, even though you're pretending to be too cool right here by not smiling

Tony: Can you be my little brother?

Rafael (on the right): "Britney Teacher is go home to USA, and then my no more looking?"
Translation: When Britney Teacher goes home, I won't see her anymore?
Verdict: If only it weren't true, Rafael...
So happy to celebrate with Ray...so proud of his progress throughout the year, what an incredibly special student :)

Weeks have been passing by. Slowly at first, and then with greater intensity.
Autumn...so long ago now. Christmas, over. Spring, just around the corner. All of the major events I had once stored away in my mind, small tokens of mental strength to help me pass the time when the days and weeks until Home seemed so distant. Birthdays...field trips...visits from family...holidays...vacations.

But as it turns out...I didn't even need to rely on those. I didn't need any assistance in passing the time...it passed all on its own, as I was busy living in the moment and finding myself fulfilled by the simple joys of the everyday.

And so I now find myself at a crossroads...as reality hits like a ton of bricks, on an innocent weekend day in mid-February...two more weeks.

The students know that in two weeks, "Britney Teacher is go home to USA." My family knows that in four weeks, they will be meeting me in the Minneapolis airport. Even the government knows that I'm on my way out...as I received an alert of my pending visa expiration in the mail the other week.

But a pending visa expiration, and a departure date now set in stone, present me with more than just nostalgia and reluctance to leave. I know I have to leave....and I accept all the terms that come with it...but how can I leave without properly thanking everyone here first?

How do you thank a group of squirming, giggling little boys and girls for fulfilling your life in the past year, when they can't even speak enough English to understand the word "fulfill"?

How do you thank someone for serving you a hundred meals, for greeting you by name every time you enter their restaurant, for remembering that you like extra hot pepper paste with your food?

How do you thank the nine year olds who brightened your day, every Monday-Wednesday- Friday for the past year, who seem to be more a part of your family than just your students?

How do you express gratitude to parents who speak limited English, for the incredible privilege of getting to know their children every day for 12 months?

All of this...pending...

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