Returning

“Don’t cry because its over.  Smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss

So my YAV year is coming to an end. I will be leaving Korea in a few days, going on a short trip to Japan, and then returning to the US. This does not mean my blogs are over yet. I still have a few posts about Korea that I want to share. Also, I am excited to announce that I will be doing a second YAV year in New York City, serving at the Presbyterian Ministry to the United Nations.

But in honor of leaving Korea, I am sharing a refection I wrote during a final retreat with my housemates and site coordinators. I was reflecting on the Bible story in Acts 2: 1-13, when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost and gives some people the ability to speak in different tongues (languages). There is a lot of suprise at this sudden event, and some people doubt if it is real, saying these people speaking in different languages probably just drank too much wine.

Throughout my year in Korea, my fellow YAVs and I have learned to speak in “different tongues,” sometimes with specific language and sometimes through other means.

Sometimes we communicated using Korean, but if that didn’t work we used hand gestures and body language.

We learned about how to communicate non-violently using clear language to describe how we feel and make requests of others.

We learned how a simple act such as gratefully receiving food or gifts offered to us by a Korean friend is a way to demonstrate our relationship with that person

We learned all these things, all these tongues. Mastered none of them. But we tried and learned all the same.

When we return home, our way of communicating may seem different to those that new us before. They may think us strange, and wonder why we changed…or like some of the people in this story, they may doubt us and say we just drank too much. But we’ll explain the reason for our change quite simply: “I was a Korea YAV.”

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2 thoughts on “Returning

  1. We shall rejoice in your safe homecoming, Simon, only to turn around and immerse yourself in NYC life! Looking forward, as always, to your Scribbles which are so thoughtful. No language barrier there! You’re comin’ through loud and clear. Our country and government could certainly benefit from more truthful, honest dialogue. Traveling blessings!

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