Happy New Year to Family and Friends Around the World!!!
As we reflect on the trials and triumphs of the last 12 months, I am reminded that it has been a challenging and exciting year. From new adventures abroad and life lessons around the world, I would like to share what I believe are 2016’s biggest moments.
5-Arriving in Korea
After living in West Africa for nearly two years, I was more than excited to leave home after about a month and travel back overseas. This time, I was heading to North Asia. As a language teacher in Korea, I taught young learners a number of different subjects, such as Debate, Grammar, Language Arts, Presentation/Public Speaking, and many others. Overall, my students were sweet, polite, and fun with a thirst for knowledge. While working 60 hours a week did not leave much time to have fun or relax, I did make some new friends, enjoy local activities like karaoke and jimjilibangs, and got to travel to Japan to obtain my work visa.
4-Traveling to Thailand
For years I had dreamed of visiting the Land of Smiles. My chance finally came during my seven day summer vacation from my job in Korea. Although I had read many books, blogs, and articles on the tropical country, nothing prepared me for the delicious food, balmy weather, mysterious mountains, and dazzling beaches. After just five days in the country, I sincerely didn’t want to go back to Korea. I was having the time of my life! Fortunately for me, I was able to return in August. The only other place I’ve ever been that can match Thailand is Italy, with it’s gorgeous buildings, beautiful people and amazing food. The Land of Smiles is surely the jewel of Asia.
3-2016 Rotary International Convention
My roots in Rotary go back to my college days. Volunteering at the 2016 Rotary International Convention was an incredible experience as well as a huge honor. My responsibilities included helping Rotarians find their way around the House of Friendship. Not only did I meet young leaders from around the world who were passionate about making a difference in their communities, I was also encouraged and inspired to continue giving back to our international community.
2-Moving to China
During my preparation for China, I was praying that it would be a new start. What I was not prepared for was the kindness, openess, and generosity of the people. For example, once, while going out with my coworkers for dinner, the restaurant manager requested to take photos with us and even handed out towels and water bottles. Chinese people are a curious bunch who are eager to get to know strangers. In the short time that I have lived in the country, the locals have made me feel very welcome. I’m looking forward to learning more about the people, the culture, and China’s unique heritage.
Today was my first full day back in the United States. After being away for over a year, it’s been great to return home and see my family. For my winter break I’ve catching up with old friends and ringing in the New Year with loved ones.
2016 was filled with some challenging days, but a lot of good days, too. I’m thankful for all the challenges God has put forth, because challenges build character, and character builds perseverance. Now, with memories of 2016 in mind and my rejuvenation period at hand, I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us this year. Happy New Year!