I’m probably going to be updating a lot more in the days leading up to the flight home. I’ve got a lot of emotions swirling around inside me and it seems like they change every hour or so. I mainly just want to try to document all the things I’m feeling now so I can preserve them for future years.
I’ve been asked a few times now how I’m feeling and it’s quite difficult question to answer. I’m excited (and nervous, but mostly excited) about whatever lies ahead, but also heartbroken over the friends and students that I’m leaving behind. I love the friends I’ve met here, but I’m not feeling as sad about that because there’s always the possibility that we’ll cross paths in the future. It does feel weird though that we can’t (won’t be able to) call each other up and go out for drinks or coffee.
I’m more upset about leaving my students. Like, heartcrushingly upset. I’ve had a handful of them for the whole two years that I’ve been at my school and it feels a bit like I’m their parent. I’ve watched them grow up and change. They’ve learned a lot and have developed into wonderful young people, and…the fact that it’s just going to end and that I won’t see them again just makes my heart ache.
In a regular elementary school or if I were staying and they were leaving the school, there’d still be that chance that I might run into them on the street or at the grocery store, and this just feels very final. I also don’t really know how to tell them that I’m leaving without making a big announcement or whatever. I do want to tell them though because I don’t want them to wonder where I am the following Monday.
I was thinking of giving them my American address and letting them know they can write to me if they want, but I also don’t know how to do go about doing that. I had a classroom up until our new semester/term started in January and now I’m in our school library (easier for me to leave in the middle of the term, than if I had my own room) and now I see all of the students. So, I haven’t had a chance to get as close to them as my own kids that I had in my classroom. I don’t want to be playing favorites or anything.
I personally haven’t said anything to the kids yet (it’s also frowned upon if you do it too early because parents might pull their kids out( loss of business for the school) if you start mentioning it too early, but apparently one of the front desk ladies had mentioned it to one student’s mom and the girl is upset. She’s one of my favorite kiddos…just a star. She’s so smart and kind and just a great kid. I’m thinking of having one of my Korean friends translate a sentence or two for me so I can tell her how proud I am of her. She’s good with English but we haven’t gotten to words like “proud/proud of” yet, and I don’t want anything to get lost in translation.
Anyway, I’ve also been getting hit with waves of “this is the last time that I’ll be doing x”. I haven’t cried yet, but I have moments where I get hit with nostalgia and just different memories. The reality is starting to sink in and I just keep telling myself “You’re doing so great. Everything is going to be fine.”
I’m also trying to keep myself in the present to try and…I guess cement the memories and emotions as best I can. It’s pretty easy to get swept away with all the things that I have to do and to get caught up in future plans. I’ve got a fairly good balance going and I think I’m right on track as far as getting things done. I have to remind myself of that from time to time. Thankfully I’ve trained that inner voice of mine and I’m usually pretty kind to myself.
As far as keeping in the present goes, I think I’m also mentally a week ahead because it feels like I’m leaving in a couple of days rather than just over a week. Which, thankfully I still have that week because I still have stuff to do, but I’m trying to keep myself from getting too far ahead to where I start missing out on the present.
Tonight (it’s 10pm on Saturday here) I met up with one of my best Korean friends and her nephew. (He’s visiting from another city and staying with her for a few days.) I’ve met him a few times and apparently he talks about me a lot, ha. So tonight we met up at Starbucks and he drew me a picture and wrote a little message (in Korean) and then we all went for dinner after. It was a goodbye dinner of sorts as well. I’m going to see that friend next weekend (my last weekend) as well, so that will be the official goodbye.
I think all these “last x” and goodbyes actually make it more difficult and painful to leave. Part of me wishes I could just get on the next bus to the airport and just get it over with.
Anyway, 5 days til I move out of my apartment and 5 more days of work!
We’re in the home stretch now!
(Note: Moving out of my apartment early because I have to be out of my place when they do the inspection–moving in with a co-worker on Thursday, last day of work on Friday, flight on Monday.)