In the last few months I've been completely nonchalant about, even craving, my trip back to the states. While I am still looking forward to having time at home, today was the first time that I started to feel a little stress/sadness in relation to the times ahead, and also in relation to leaving Korea.
First, I started writing letters to my kids for their graduation. For me, as I'm sure is also the case for many other teachers, I find that the most important part of being a teacher has been not helping the kids learn about the subject at hand. Oh, no...these kids teach me so much every day, and as a teacher, I feel that part of my job is to hold up a mirror for the kids so they can learn to recognize the amazing qualities that they already naturally possess. That, and to share with them some of the life lessons I've learned along the way...to help them learn from my own mistakes and successes. In writing these letters (and I've only written two so far out of six) I already feel humbled in recognizing these qualities...to know that kids so young have so much wisdom, far more than I, and that I am blessed enough to have been a part of their lives is really incredible. So, I was and am still touched to have had such a wonderful experience here. Today, it really hit me.
Also, I may have underestimated their feelings about me leaving. Two days ago, a mom of one of my favorite kids came in to take her younger daughter to one of our two annual open classes. She said to me that James (my student) is very sad about me leaving. Well, I just thought she was sort of saying it to be nice, because she knew I was leaving...but no. Today, Miss Lizzie (one of the other teachers) told me that James, about three times a day, just when playing or doing whatever, will stop what he is doing and say to his mom, "I am really going to miss Miss Anna." I had really conflicting feelings about this, because, well, granted you want the kids to remember you...but this kid is extra, extra sensitive. He's a student that has a hard time trusting people in general, and we have definitely formed a bond this year. I know that eventually he will be fine, but I really do worry that my leaving will be a little bit hard on him.
Anyway...other than that, I learned a lesson about being TOO proactive today...and I suppose I am grateful for that lesson, even if it cost me a few bucks. Basically, I had heard in January from my contact in Italy who is with the program I'll be teaching for in the summer, and she said that it would maybe be June 6th that I'd have to be in San Remo for the training camp this year. As the email seemed relatively positive, I decided not to wait and book a cheaper direct flight from Madrid to Nice (where I would catch the train to San Remo). Unfortunately, I received an email back from her today letting me know that the exact dates are actually from June 5th, and we have to be there by 6pm. So...I ended up canceling my flight, which I suppose was fortunate because I could be refunded $17 of $139 as opposed to none (and adding another $139 to change the flight)...and then I looked around and ended up booking a new flight on RyanAir for 50 Euro to Milan (Bergamo), where I've decided I'll take the shuttle to the city center and then take the train direct to San Remo. The shuttle's only about 9 euro, and the Train's only about 11...so altogether, it's not a horrible deal. I've decided to be positive and look at it this way: if I had waited until now, the only flights I would find from Madrid direct to Nice would be over $400 anyway...so I suppose I'm really sort of saving money still, in the end...;) Ah well, it's only money.
Well, back to the tasks at hand...enjoying myself here in Korea while I can, staying in the moment and enjoying the company of my kids and friends, loving every moment as it comes my way...and always staying grateful for each of those moments.