We’re in our final few weeks of living in South Korea.
It’s a funny thing- living while such an impending life event is on the horizon. Just yesterday, we were out in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul, having a celebratory dinner and cocktails with our friend Roori at ‘Vatos’ before taking a taxi to Insadong to take in the ‘lantern festival’ which is a spring mainstay in downtown Seoul. We met up with some friends, had a few laughs and got Ava home and in bed just before midnight with her tired whininess just setting in. If we were in Spain, we’d just be getting our evening started.
As we were out last night though, I wondered if this would be the ‘last time’ we’d go here or the ‘last time’ we’d see that. My eyes danced around the facades, the hangul, and the lanterns as my friends tried to maintain a conversation while my attention would involuntarily drift elsewhere with creeping nostalgia leaving them wondering if my Tourettes was acting up or I was merely a poor listener.
This afternoon, our friend Jim is going to come by for Ava’s bunk bed which will be our biggest furniture item to ditch before the movers come to box up our lives and store them in a storage container for a year. From this afternoon, we’ll start the 6 week, downward slide of getting rid of clothes, asking if this ‘really brings joy’ and only keep essentials that we can’t bear to part with. Our last day of school is a Friday, and we leave the following Monday with a weekend fire sale in between.
The school year is drawing down too. Spring MAP tests are behind us, coaching and after school clubs are drying up, and seniors stress about their upcoming finals and wonder if they’ll have any negative impact on their college acceptance if they were to blow off and bomb their exams. Our staff are having conversations for next year around standards based grading and although we’re being kept in the loop as a professional courtesy, I wonder how much our voice matters compared to primary stakeholders and those who will be stepping up to continue traditions, invite new policies and make their mark.
Coincidentally, there has been a flurry of social media posts in my feed from co-workers around the world who are also about to set out on their new adventures and are feeling nostalgic themselves about the past with an uncertain future ahead. Of all the schools we’ve worked in, we came to love the community of people there, who were each others ‘rock’ of stability in the sea of international teaching and living.
One never realizes how good they had it and how good life was until those moments are no more. Isn’t that always the case in life?