Leaving a Piece of Me

Slice of Life Challenge Entry #7: Leaving a Piece of Me

Today was field trip day. The day that is suppose to be fun and exciting, but by the time the day was over and it was 3:30pm, I was ready to fall over and just lay in bed. Not because the kids were bad or the trip was boring, but because being out with students all day and keeping track of them is simply exhausting.

We went to Seoul Tower, which is actually on top of Namsan mountain. Yes, the same mountain that the orphanage I go to is located on. We rode a cable car that went all the way to the top of the mountain that guards the city of Seoul.  When we got to the top, there was a place were couples leave locks on a fence. It’s suppose to represent your everlasting love for each other.

This year, I thought it would be fun if I could put a lock on the fence with my students. It would be cool to leave a lock from our class on the fence in the midst of the hundreds of locks that fill the walls. We wrote on the lock: Forever Team Justice 5A.

I took the blue sturdy lock out of my pocket and opened up the lock with the slow turn of the matching blue key. All of my students gathered around me, as we found a good spot to place it. I put the lock over metal wire and snuggled it between the others, finding it’s own space. The students came in closer with their cameras, iphones and galaxy tabs, waiting to take a photo.

I quickly took a few shots with my camera.

“I want to take a photo,” shouted a student.

“Me too! I’m next,” said another student.

“Ok, let’s have you go first, then you next.” I started coming up with an order for my students. As the students crowded around the blue strong lock, one by one to get photos, I couldn’t help but feel the envy from the surrounding locks.

As I sat on the school bus coming back to school, I looked through the photos from the day. I looked at the photo of our lock and remembered, that I had brought that blue lock all the way from my home in NY. It had been with me these past 4 years here in Korea. I was ready to leave it here. Korea has slowly unlocked a part of my heart as I started to love the city, the people, and my students. Now, as I leave my lock on top of this mountain, looking over the city of over 10 million people, I can’t help but smile. Korea has a piece of me forever.

11 thoughts on “Leaving a Piece of Me

  1. Kevin Hodgson says:

    Each year, we bring our kids on a whitewater rafting trip, and the act of keeping an eye on them all and making they don’t fall in is completely exhausting, so your opening bit on your post resonated with me.

  2. Dyanne says:

    I LOVE this! What a great idea! I left a letter in a box on top of a mountain once– just do cool! I want to leave a lock now! Oh man– I don’t want to think about you leaving…

  3. elsie says:

    Your words in the last paragraph gave me goose bumps. I think these are the words when they started to slide down my back, ‘Korea has slowly unlocked a part of my heart.” No wonder you feel drained. What a day!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    I understand the exhaustion; being ‘on’ with the kids constantly all day is tough. I loved that you did this with them, however. What a very special moment you created for them, and then for yourself. That last part left me a little teary & you wrote it powerfully. Saying goodbye is hard, even when going to something wonderful. Thanks for sharing, & I love seeing the picture & hearing about the tradition-so special!

  5. Dana says:

    Field trips are EXHAUSTING! A beautiful post. The unlocking of your heart and then relocking it (in a very different way as your living in Korea comes to an end) was beautiful. I could feel your joy and heart filling as your students all wanted to take pictures with you.

  6. Josie Stewart says:

    This is such a touching piece. You can just tell how much it meant to your class as well. I suspect that they understood how symbolic that lock truly is to you. Beautiful.

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