Monday, February 23, 2009

I Have a Date!

Yes, at last I have a confirmed departure date! Not that I don't love Korea, but I really am eager to see my family again and to get started on all of the excitement that awaits me at home. I have a fantastic itinerary this time around; Cate let me book it myself, so I picked exactly what I wanted (and I made sure that it was still one of the cheapest flights available).

Instead of the 23-hour or more epic journey that I was dreading, I have a nice, easy 15-hour trip. Instead of hectic Chicago O'Hare, I get convenient Detroit with their fascinating new-age tunnel of strange lights and music that goes under one of the runways. Instead of a crowded aisle seat for thirteen hours, I get a lovely window seat for eleven hours. I even have a very short layover in Tokyo, so I can finally say I've been to Japan! Yessir, I am one happy traveler. And I leave in only twelve days. Yikes!

I can't believe how fast one year has gone. I knew it would pass quickly; in fact, I recall offering that same reassurance to a few friends who didn't want me to leave last year. Yet even I had no idea just how rapidly the days would melt into a year. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of my arrival in Korea, and on March 7, I leave this enchanting land behind. I'll be saying au revoir, though, and not goodbye. I definitely plan to revisit this country again someday, hopefully with my children.

Tomorrow is my last day with my kindergartners. On Wednesday, the little cuties graduate, and move on to afternoon classes, or perhaps different academies. In honor of our last day together, I have planned a large, fun craft for each class, and will be bringing in some cookies tomorrow. They've worked me harder than all of my other classes put together, and I'll admit, sometimes I've wanted to strangle the little darlings, but I really am going to miss them. They were my hardest classes to teach, but they were also loads of fun. And no kids can give better hugs than kindergartners.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"