Epic Hair Change and the End of The Korean Adventure

Oh yes. I’m not Coleen Teacher anymore. A visit to Nokgu (“The Green Turtle”) in Itaewon saw to my transformation. I am currently perfecting my faux-hawking skills.

Due to a few technical issues, in the form of Apple incompatibility and a dire need for an OS update, this blog may get somewhat sparse in the next few weeks. But stay with me! I will be documenting the great Indian Adventure as best I can, and taking notes to write about it all when I do have time.

Tonight, we pour out some soju for Korea and stuff ourselves with the last galbi we will find for a considerable time. It’s always difficult for me to reflect on the ending of one journey when another looms so large in the immediate future. I may not be able to process this end of Korea until I’ve processed the beginning of India, but I promise to write about it once I have.

For now, the outward change seems to be helping my mind accept the inward changes of overly-prompt homesickness for my Korean apartment and the push/pull of saying goodbye to my students. Some of them wrote me cards and stories yesterday, and a coworker brought them to me in the bubble of Yeongtong Starbucks this afternoon. One reads:

Thank you.
by Julie

To. Coleen teacher
coleen teacher very thank you.
You very nice teacher teacher
I love you
Bye. Bye. Bye.”

Then there is a heart with “I love teacher” inside it.

It makes it feel final. The last night in Korea has already descended. In the morning, we board the airport limosine bus at Ansan Bus Terminal and barrel toward Incheon International Airport. Other transitions have felt as though the time and place simply faded away…Korea feels like a full stop. Even though we’ve been counting thhe months ever since we arrived, and slowly wandering toward this moment, it feels sudden. Maybe it’s because we stepped into my office today, and life continues as it always does. Maybe it’s the knowledge that my students are used to having teachers come and go. Maybe it’s because we will be in such a new place tomorrow. Maybe it’s because we’re the ones leaving this time, and not a group. At any rate, Korea is not fading.

She’s continuing. As she always does.

Watch over us, you who watch. Watch over my students. Keep us all safe, and let us thrive and find out who we truly are. My outsides finally match my insides, and I’m ready.

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