But the thing that I’ve noticed, more than anything, since I came to Atlanta, is this: passion begets passion. Brilliance begets brilliance. Talent begets talent. I’m surrounded every day by really, really smart students from all over the world. And, while I often feel out of my league, they also make me want to do better. They make me want to learn more, to prove myself, to do my absolute best. This is not true in just an academic sense. I’m surrounded by fantastic dancers, who make me want to improve myself daily. The people that I’ve met from all over the world – from Germany, China, Korea, Columbia, Brazil, and England, to name a few – serve as a catalyst for me to become more culturally minded and informed about global issues. The strong Christians that I’ve encountered encourage me to daily become closer to the Lord.
I suppose that the opposite form of this statement is also true – that stagnation begets stagnation, dullness begets dullness, and mediocrity begets mediocrity. But the great part, is that no one has to become mediocre if they don’t want to. There’s no reason to become dull if you want to stay sharp. There are numerous opportunities for growth all around you, if you care to take advantage of them.
The Lord has certainly put plenty of those opportunities into my new life in Atlanta. I’m only taking 3 classes this semester, plus I’m a teaching assistant for a fourth class (250 undergrad students – I’m going to die!!), but I think that those 4 classes will keep me plenty busy this semester. Plus, I’m getting very plugged into the dance community here in Atlanta (I’ve gone dancing 3 times in a SINGLE WEEK! I can’t remember the last time that I’ve done that!). Actually, I recently met a guy who’s looking for a practice partner, so we might starting doing weekly practices together to improve our dancing faster; we’ll see if that works out. I’m excited :). In between classes, I’ve been staying busy familiarizing myself with the campus and Atlanta, making new friends and visiting old ones, finding volunteer opportunities, and trying to improve my Korean and Spanish. Oh yeah, and doing homework occasionally :P. One class alone has about 500 pages of reading every week, so homework will definitely keep me hopping :).
I still miss Korea desperately. I still miss my students so much that it hurts. I still crave Korean food daily. I still compare public transportation systems between Korea and America – and Korea always always always wins. Two days ago was the first day of class at my school in Korea; that was a particularly difficult day for me. But I have been in this place before. With Costa Rica, Spain, France, Morocco, Cambodia….it always hurts leaving somewhere you love. But eventually, the pain dulls, and what you’re left with is just the wonderful experiences, the incredible friends, and the better person that your time abroad made you. I have no doubt that that will also be the case with Korea. Until that time, however, I can be content in the knowledge that the Lord has given me a beautiful life here in Atlanta, too. I can’t wait to see what the next two years bring!