It's Monday night. I'll give you three guesses where I am right now. If you're smart, you'll only need one guess.
Also, just so you feel included in tonight's activities, I couldn't get a seat by the window today. I'm sitting awkwardly close to a couple of girls who I think should probably leave so I can have their table. I'll let you know the moment I achieve my directive.
I always feel like when I write a post like I did yesterday, I have to let everyone know the second I'm feeling better. Logically, I know you're not all sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering whether I've started enjoying my adventure again, but I still can't quiet the need to give updates. For the record, I didn't cry at all today. In fact, today was hilarious and all kinds of ways enjoyable. When the kids answer me correctly, I always give them an air-five. Sometimes, however, they run up to my chair and insist they get a "real five" too. Today, they all rushed up to me at the same time, so I had eight little hands flying around in front of me. Out of nowhere, I felt a slap across my face. I turned. "BRIAN!" His eyes got really wide and he said, "No, Teacher, don't worry. I just wanted to high five your face too." How can you not laugh at that?
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about nearly everything under the sun. Yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon trying to decide whether our modern interpretation of the gospels lends itself to blatant hypocrisy (and I have a pretty good argument, if you're ever curious), and I spent today trying to figure out whether I'll move to Cambodia to work in an orphanage or to England for grad school when I'm done here. **Update, I now have a window seat. Booyah** When I spend my time thinking about things like that, it makes it easier to forget that I'm a million miles from all the people I love. I tend to obsess about ideas (and people and things and cities and nearly every noun you can think of), and I've gotten quite good at distracting myself. If I don't divert my own attention away from the fact that I'm so desperately lonely sometimes, I'm bound to end up depressed. I know I haven't been here very long, but I'm really proud of the way I've handled being homesick thus far. I don't ignore it; I get really sad for a while, and I cry and I mope and I whine, but then I do something else. Being homesick isn't going to get me home, and honestly, I don't really want to be "home". I want Korea to be home. I want to feel comfortable and content and happy here. If all I'm going to do is wish I were back in Ohio then I might as well get on a plane right now. I refuse to waste my year longing to be somewhere else. This is a good place, and my life will be good here. Sometimes, when I'm at church on Sunday afternoons, I close my eyes and imagine that I'm back at the Vineyard, surrounded by the people I love and miss. But when I open my eyes, I honestly don't want to be anywhere else. I really like Jubilee, and I'm so excited to be a part of what God's doing there. Also, despite the fact that I've recently been whining about how no one knows me here, I've enjoyed being new to an extent. I had originally told myself that I wasn't going to wrap myself up in serving here; I wanted my weekends free in case I wanted to travel. But... then I found out they're re-vamping their monthly newsletters and need writers... and I found out that they have a homeless ministry that feeds the hungry... and I can't not do it. In Cincinnati, I was "Nikki, the girl who does puppet shows and works with kids", but here, I can be "Nikki, who helps out at homeless shelters" or "Nikki, who interviews missionaries in closed countries and writes about it". Starting from scratch is annoying in some aspects, but incredibly liberating in others. I didn't really need to reinvent myself; there's nothing wrong with puppet shows or children's ministry. But it's fun to spread my wings a little and see what else I can do. Twenty-four is far too young to decide who I'm going to be for the rest of my life. And maybe I'll fall flat on my face. But Korea doesn't have to just be about figuring out who I am; it can also be about discovering who I'm not or who I might eventually become.
I can't believe I've been here a month already. I know my family's going to hate reading this, but I don't know that I can be done here in just a year. I have so much to learn, and so many new things to explore, and I'm just flat out enjoying living. And I'm not quite sure I'll ever be able to "settle down." I think I'm just too transient for the American Dream...
And lastly, I leave you with this: While teaching this morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I needed to know how to write "asa" in Korean. I stopped what I was doing and asked the kids to teach me how to spell it. I wouldn't let them rush the board, so they started shouting out directions. "Circle! Now line! No, down! Now over!" I laughed and scribbled, writing random letters I know I had seen on signs or menus. When I decided I had enough letters, I stepped aside and proudly told them I had written "asa!" They quieted down, trying to pronounce the mess of characters I had splattered across the board. The shyest girl in class finally spoke up... "ah-ss-ho-leh... ahssholeh... Teacher, what mean asshole?" I reeeeally need to learn to read Korean.