All at once, my grant year in Korea comes full circle. In about a week from now, I will be on my way to the US, where I will see my family after a year abroad. Call me a sentimental sap, but I wanted to commemorate my one year anniversary in Korea by looking back on where I was back then (Well, technically speaking, I was at the airport to board an international flight from Portland, Maine to Seoul South Korea.). This image for me says it all, but for everyone else, there are things left unsaid…
Memories… “a picture is worth a thousand words.” One image can bring us back to a different time. There’s a story behind a memory evoked in pictures, and for each of us this story may have a different rendition. This is to say that a picture contains a memory and for each of us, our memory as individuals is something only WE ourselves can understand or appreciate fully. Others exist in these memories, but our perceptions of ourselves and experiences differ. Thus, one might argue that the same image is a different picture when viewed by a different person. At times, we ourselves can feel like different people in viewing photos of our ‘former’ selves. During the course of our lives, we undergo physical change. Yet, this change is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. To truly understand oneself ‘then’ and ‘now’, one ought consider: growth in character.
Growth… It was once said that character cannot be developed in ease in quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. For those who may not recognize the author of this quote, it is none other than the inspirational Helen Keller. Keller, being deaf and blind, experienced trial and suffering to an extent that many of us will never face. Yet, through it all, she managed to find strength within herself to move forward. In the wake of this growth, she poured her energy into political activism and advocacy of the deaf and the blind. She accepted the challenges she faced in life and realized her potential to achieve something more: for more than just herself. This is what it takes to become a person of impact. One must accept challenges to grow in character.
We struggle –> We learn –> We grow –> We give
Those things that were left unsaid… To the girl in the photograph, July 2015: Who are you? That smile…scared, but too proud to break down or fall apart. Tearing up inside but standing resolute. Who are you? Hair shortly trimmed journeying alone to the unknown? Who are you? Are you ready to have your feet grounded in one place for a year? Who are you? So far away from home… Who are you? Why did you decide to embark on this journey? Who are you? Will you feel broken…Who are you? Is this dream too good to be true?
The woman in the mirror, July 2016: I am one who endeavors to make others smile. I have learned to swallow my pride, and, when I fall apart, I ask for help. No shame and no judgement of myself or others… I am more than my appearance might suggest. I am far from home, but surrounded by people who love and support me. So long as I acknowledge this, HOME is a mobile concept. The world is my home and I am a citizen of this big, beautiful world. Sometimes there is pain and sometimes there is struggle, but always there is a dream and always there is a reason to keep moving forward. That reason is love. ❤ Giving is the gift that keeps on giving. My heart feels full ❤
Reflection is a powerful exercise. It can ease the transition of a life chapter. A reassurance during those times in life when one must turn the page..Time to reflect: It’s bittersweet. A transition. This life adventure is not ending. Never goodbye. Only a ‘see you later’ and a new beginning. So, until we meet again… ❤