Submitted by Dianna Kriegh ETA ’10-13
This entry originally appeared on a Fulbright grantee’s personal blog and is published with permission here. The views expressed in these entries are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fulbright Korea or the Korea Fulbright Infusion staff.
If I haven’t made this clear recently, let me do so now: I LOVE my life. I love it exactly as it is right now. I have an incredible job with students who bring laughter to my heart and provoke new avenues of research/interest in my mind. No matter the weather, the attitudes (mine or others’), or the relative (un)eventfulness, a day that I teach is never truly dull. I work with wonderful people who treat me like a colleague despite the fact that most of them are old enough to be my parent, and I am treated both at school and in society in general with a level of respect that, sadly, few American educators can aspire to despite any true differentiation between myself and them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the non-professional side of my life right now, too. I love those odd interactions with regular people who feel the need to strike up a conversation with you simply because you are foreign — or, at least, most of the time I do. I’ve learned some great things that way and have come away with more stories than I have even begun to try to share here. I love walking past rice paddies and mountains and mentally cataloging the ever-changing view, and I love taking the lid off the cafe mocha I got to-go and discovering that the barista in my regular coffee stop has been leaving me previously unseen latte art. I even love the weather — today. My life is far from perfect but the little joys eclipse the big issues just like a desert full of individual grains of sand can hide entire cities when blown the right way.
The fact that I love it all so much is actually my biggest problem right now. Thanks to the three year limit on Fulbright ETA grants I am fast approaching the end of my ‘desert’ and no multitude of sand can hide that. There was a time when I ‘knew’ exactly what was supposed to come post-Fulbright and post-Korea, but that was back when I planned to leave a scant 12 months after my arrival. I honestly have no clue anymore what is coming next or even what I want to come next, and that is scary. I am not one of those people who subscribes to the ‘this is the best time in my life and nothing in the future will be as good’ fallacy, but I am definitely one of those people who is afraid of the unknown. So, while I know that whatever comes next won’t compare to what I have now, I will hopefully be prepared to appreciate the completely different set of joys in it when it comes. Until then, I just have to figure out how to balance enjoying every last moment of the next ten months with actually making all the decisions, filling out all the applications, and taking all the steps needed to reach whatever my next step might be.
“Loving and Letting Go” was originally posted on Dianna Kriegh’s blog “Kreigh N Korea” on September 5, 2012.