Wednesday, 28 September 2011

part and parcel.

Simply put, here it is: I have come back to Canada, bound with a great lesson in humility. I've found my outermost (and innermost) limits, and a new-found appreciation of making steps before leaps.

I'm still chewing through and coming to terms with what happened here in the past few weeks: the most bewildering, eye opening experiences in an unfamiliar culture-- wrought with unique challenges and triumphs, wading through a completely novel situation, finding a place to settle and grow-- paralleled with core-shaking challenges that caused me to question myself and my motives at their most deep rooted level.

Let me say that I surprised myself.
I had this expectation, before I even left Canadian soil, that I would come out the other side of this 12 month tunnel as a different person, somehow solid in my knowledge about who I am, my capabilities, will power and limits unbreakable and supercharged. I didn't put a lot of thought or conception into the time between month 1 and month 12 (realistically, how could I?), all I knew was that, in the past, my will power has always proven to be one of the most reliable forces in my life, and it was unlikely that this trend would be interrupted.

I had such high expectations for myself, that I left no room for humanness in the equation.

Having any kind of expectation about the outcome of things before we get there can create great challenges and disappointment. My expectations for myself, for my experience in Korea, for how I would be able to cope, it was preconceived without much flexibility for what would actually occur in the time I was there. I was taken away by the experience, by the job, by the culture, by trying to survive, and subsequently had a hard time taking a step back from everything that was happening around me. This is an essential skill to hone in life, and it became exponentially more important to hone overseas, to keep everything in perspective, so as to not get overwhelmed.

I did get overwhelmed. The circumstances were pretty amazing and challenging; my sensory stimulation receptors were on overdrive from day one, taking in all of the unfamiliars: An unfamiliar language, unfamiliar cultural nuances, unfamiliar job, unfamiliar friends and surroundings.

It was quite a lesson in humility, learning about my limits as a human. I am not wonder woman. I know I have the will-power of a wildebeest, but taking on too many things at once and looking for the end result without taking into account the steps that I'd have to take to get there, that's not self love or self care. Taking steps before leaps is a simple, and powerful lesson. Revisiting what I took on: my first full time teaching gig, as a kindergarten teacher (outside of my training area, and the precious children were really only 4, still peeing themselves, not supposed to be sitting down learning phonics or math, just supossed to learn how to be kids! ), moving out on my own into a new culture (where education means something totally different than it does at home-- it's about business, convincing the parents that their children are perfect Einsteins, when in reality, they are just paying a lot of money for lip service, and about "image" or illusion, rather than about applicable learning for the kids), in a world where plastic cosmetic surgeons are on every street corner, the children are already concerned about weight, diets, and the way people look... It was very disillusioning for me.  That is their culture, that is the way they live. I knew full well that I could not go there expecting that I could 'change' the way they do things. Rather, I'd need to embrace their way of doing things, and put my own preferences and ideas on the back burner. As much as I imagine myself to be quite flexible and understanding, I don't think I was ready to take on all of these variables at once.

It's about being honest with myself. Honesty is the platform that growth and learning is built on.
And learning is not always pretty.

I am still sorting through understanding what happened, everything here, everything there. I don't have any answers. But what I do know, is that I'm here, and I'm surrounded by inspiring people who support my choice, and they're here to help me get back on my feet.
I'm so grateful for this realization. In my weak moments, I am so lucky to have people in my life that understand and support me through the rough stuff.

I am so lucky that I had the opportunity to try, to go beyond, to challenge myself. I don't think this is the end of this story, either. I think I can do it. I just need to come at it from a different vantage point. I need to take a few more steps before I make that leap.

So here I am. Time to keep walking. One step at a time.

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