I’m on a plane to South Korea. The TV in front of me, the one in front of the Korean girl next to me, the two that project to my left and right (and every other not occupied with a movie or other program a passenger selected) show a cartoonish image of the world we’re flying over. Right now we’re over the Arctic Ocean What does that image, our passage above have to do with what’s below? (Ok maybe not the arctic, but the land passed and coming up…)
Up here, in our compact, protected bubble of momentum, it is easy to not even consider all the rushing earth beneath (at the speed of 505mpr).
People going to work…Dressing ..Victimized…Committing violence..Loving..Getting married…Breaking up…Dying…Being born…Rape. (Making ridiculous & offensive statements about rape)….Cooking. Eating…Making choices they’ll regret or cherish….Studying…Quitting… Succeeding…failing…Sacrificing…Talking. In so many languages.About anything. Everything….Getting diagnosed with cancer…Recovering…Celebrating birthdays (happy birthday darling Cady). And on and on……….
And all concealed by this accelerating bubble and the darkening sky where we have our sterile meals, laws indicated by signs and announcements in Korea and English, ambassadors keeping order and providing for basic needs-“More water, miss?”
Flying above might give one a sense of smallness below, but then because the plane will land, we will get out, I zoom in. The reality of the unimaginable complexity of each of those entities below, of the systems of laws and nations, or cultures and maybe just a few universal desires or dreams.. The intertwining, the overlapping, the lack of single reality….? And then just knowing one thing. Having one thing that is concrete seems enough, in a way. Maybe just for a minute. Or a year.
Since my last entry, I graduated from Northeastern University and spent two years teaching on the South side of Chicago as a Teach for America corp member. I made the choice not to display those experiences, not due to lack of stories, but out of respect for the privacy of my students. Though I move on, those boys (I taught at an all male school) remain strong in my heart and mind. In part, I am on this plane to seek answers to questions the last two years raised for me. I want to see other education systems. I want perspective and experience.
So South Korea calls. I will live outside Seoul and teach at a university. Two writing classes and a listening class. I don’t know much about my students yet, let alone the area (supposedly a somewhat rural college town) my colleagues, the culture or really anything else particularly useful.
But I will learn. And once again share some of my experiences via writing. So tune in, if you will. Tell me what you think. Give me ideas and feedback. Make the negative comments constructive and the positive honest. And of course, let me know if you’d like to come visit.