By Matthew Walters, ETA ’14-’17, Editor-in-Chief of Infusion ’16-’17
The end of the grant year invites a range of emotions: a sense of accomplishment, teary-eyed wistfulness and, perhaps most prominently, nervous anticipation for what comes next. That next step could be graduate school, another year in Korea or a year of searching. Regardless of what we’re wrestling with, many of us have our eyes anxiously fixated on the future. This kind of restless uncertainty is in our nature.
But we’re going to be okay.
Very little can be as challenging as taking on a different culture and career halfway around the world from our friends and loved ones. And yet, in the midst of this immense challenge, we have all experienced moments of growth and clarity. These moments equip us to handle our uncertain futures. From revelatory cafe interactions—such as in Sarah Muscutt’s “Niceness” and Eugene’s Lee’s “Eastern Medicine in a Gangnam Cafe”—to staying afloat in the classroom, like in Katherine Moncure’s “A 45-Minute Exercise in Stalling,” the lessons we’ve learned about ourselves will direct our paths in the coming year.
Equally comforting is the fact that we will not be alone in the challenging decisions we must soon make. We will inevitably forge new friendships just as we did in this past year. The 60-year-old coworker in Candy Lee’s “Mr. Yang” and the five-year-old playmate from Heidi Little’s “One More Time” are just examples of the unlikely yet beautiful relationships we have all established. These bonds have undoubtedly changed and enriched us.
Finally, we cannot forget that the future brings not only worry, but a sense of wonder. As Rachel Fauth recalls a pivotal day in her experiences through “Damyang,” we, too, must take credit for the bravery and receptiveness we’ve honed during our time in Korea. We are ready for whatever is next. The future is frightening, but it is ours.
I hope that the stories in this issue remind you of what you have accomplished and embolden you in a time of vulnerability. Please enjoy Volume 10, Issue 2 of Infusion.