As I’m sitting here wasting away hour after hour of office time at my school, I am less than 24 hours away from my flight to Sydney, Australia. The bucket list continues to get a bit smaller as I can cross Australia off the things-to-do list. Australia seems to be that trip on everyone’s bucket list. The allure of kangaroos, koala bears, the scenic view of the Sydney Opera House, the endless adventures that one can dream about. It seems to have it all. Also, it is the very fact that it is isolated from the rest of the world that makes it fairly exotic, and somewhat out of reach for many travelers.
Funny what a mere few years living abroad can do to a person. The places that I thought I’d never be able to visit have been coming into fruition. The weather has been brutally wet and humid in Korea this summer, so to be able to visit Australia during their current winter time (60 F average weather) is a welcome relief. I’ll be taking off from Seoul/Incheon Airport in the afternoon, arrive in Hong Kong for a brief hour layover, and head straight down to Sydney on an overnight flight which will have me arrive there at 7 am. 14 hours total will be the expected time I’ll be in the air. I’m dreading the lack of sleep, but I’m comforted with the fact that I’ll have some good movies and music to watch and listen to courtesy of Cathay Pacific Airways. Guess United Airlines or any American airliner haven’t gotten the memo yet? They’re showing Kung Fu Panda 2 already! (yes!!!). This will preserve my iPod from overuse during my long flight.
In the meantime, my summer camp has already concluded. It was a much better overall experience compared to last year when I struggled, and became increasingly worn out by the time August rolled around. I came up with some new ideas which included a week dedicated to doing video projects which my students had a great time doing. I was quite surprised at the ideas and concepts they came up with which allowed me to focus on the filming and video editing.
Being that this is my 3rd year, I feel like I’m starting to figure things out a little more quickly and confidently as a teacher at my school. Though with every student, there will always be a curveball when you think you’ve got everything covered, but I think that’s where a lot of people get into trouble is the fact that they feel there’s nothing to improve on once they reach their peak. It goes back to the saying that my friend Lisa eloquently said “A wise man knows how truly little he knows, while a fool boasts on what little he knows.”
Halfway into my contract, and with only the next semester ending on Christmas with a few weeks of winter camp, I’m very close to the finish line. I’ve been often reminded from some of my friends who left their schools on how hard it was to say goodbye to their students whom they’ve grown attached to. However, as they all lamented, life goes on. The emails from students and fellow colleagues become fewer and fewer. The kids are growing up and moving on to a different phase in their life, and my friends themselves are preoccupied with their new life back home. I have a feeling I won’t be able to let go right away when that time comes, and knowing that I’ve spent nearly 3 years with the same school, I reckon it’ll be an emotional rollercoaster. I know I have several months before that time comes, but I know that it’s something I’ll have to face eventually.
So far, it’s been a rather quiet journey this year with most of my time dedicated to school and my volunteer work with ATEK. To all Busaners, I encourage you to look into doing some volunteering if the nightlife doesn’t fancy you anymore. To become a member, check out our Facebook group “ATEK Busan Volunteer.” I can’t tell you how rewarding it feels when you’re doing something useful especially when you’re overseas.