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      트위터 페이스북 미투데이 네이버 구글 msn  
Summer: A Season for Farewells
2014년 07월 07일 (월) 10:33:29 GLOBE globe@jbnu.ac.kr

Summer is often marked in my country, as a time for leisure. As a child growing up, summer meant no responsibilities, school, or academies (we don’t have those creativity usurpers). Summer was viewed as a reward for the nine months of school work, a time to play. This meant staying up late at night watching movies with friends and sleeping until noon. While mom and dad were at work, my brothers and/or friends would go to the local swimming pool where we’d spend the hot afternoons playing in the water and basking in the sun. Summers were three months of carefree living, no school, and complete indulgences.

As I grew older, like many high school students summer became a time for working. Instead of going to the pool to swim, I was going to the pool to work. I began working at the age of 14 as a cashier, but transitioned into a lifeguard at the age of 16. Four consecutive summers were spent working at the pool. It is there that I not only made money and received a nice tan, but also made great friends. Afterall, the pool was an employer of about 50 of my school peers. Most of us were working to pay for our cars and the gas we consumed. For us working was more of a liberation than an obligation. After closing the pool at night we would drive to a 24 hour diner with the car windows down to cool our heated skin. Here we would spend some of our newly earned money on hours of conversation and greasy food. I quit working at the pool after I graduated from high school and moved from home to go to the university. It was the summer of 2003 when suddenly summers transitioned from days at the pool to a season of farewells.

The first departure began after the summer of 2003 when I left the city I had called home for 18 years to live on my own. It was a pretty scary farewell despite being only an hour away from my parent’s home. I found residing in a new city with all unfamiliar faces to be intimidating. In the USA, 18 is the age when we become an adult and most things become legal. The expectation for most of us was that we leave the home and explore our own independence. I didn’t realize that the summer before my freshman year in college would be marked with consecutive summers of farewells and relocations. However, this was ultimately due to my own curiosities and desires to see the world.

The next couple summers were also spent giving farewells, which became increasingly more difficult because of the physical distance. The summer of 2004 I boarded a plane and went east across the Atlantic Ocean, where I had planned on studying abroad in France. While, the initial farewell proved scary a new sense of adventure and curiosity was piqued. Subsequently, the following summer was also spent with farewells and another transatlantic plane ride. This time to spend a year living and working in the “Eternal City”. I had quickly discovered through my travels that as soon as farewells were said, new “hellos” were given. This made departures much more palatable and less intimidating; for every friendly face I was leaving I was soon to find an equal number greeting me.

Graduation came in the summer of 2008. With a degree in education and an increasing curiosity about the world, I decided to take a plane west over the Pacific for a job in Korea. This farewell was a new challenge as it was directly on the opposite side of the world from my family. Additionally, a love relationship and close university friends were now thousands of miles away. However, I was living on my curiosities and belief in friendly faces. Two beautiful years were spent in rural Paju where I built fantastic relationships with my students and coworkers. The summer of 2010 brought another departure and more than 500 difficult farewells.

A new year and new summer brought another departure. This time I was leaving to pursue my graduate degree in Tallinn Estonia. I knew little about the country, but was intrigued by its location and program. However, I was confident I would meet fantastic people. This was once again proven and lifelong memories were made with these people. After a short couple years I was soon faced with another farwell, which has brought me back to Korea.

This brings me to my current position at CBNU. I arrived in the summer of 2013 and have been blessed to have encountered generous co-workers and sincere students. Despite having said previous farewells in locations throughout the world, I have found myself again in a comfortable location surrounded by love from those near. With the turning of spring, I knew an impending farewell was approaching. In just a couple months I will be leaving Korea for a new position in a new location. I rest comfortably in the fact that again lovely people, whose faces are still unknown, will greet me and make me feel welcome. This has been my understanding of humanity. While it is regrettable to say farewell to the relationships made, the memories will remain eternal.

Some of my former students will recognize the truth in the lines by Robert Frost where he addresses summer, “Her early leafs a flower, but only so an hour…” As nature marks time in seasons, so does human interactions. For me summer has often been marked by “farewells”. And while meetings are often short like the summer flower, they are soon replaced with the beautiful buddings of spring blossoms, “hellos”.

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