They say a picture is worth a thousand words – but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep this closer to 200.
I took this photo on the morning of Friday, April 20th – the day of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in’s historic summit between North and South Korea. Given the significance of the day’s events, many teachers in my school stopped their classes for the students to watch a live broadcast of the meeting.
Never in my life did I think I would experience something like this and I completely underestimated the power that it would have. Still technically continuing 68 years after it began, the Korean war tore families apart on the peninsula. Tragically, many of these families continue to be separated from each other to this day.
I couldn’t help but to think of these very students in front of me and the hardships that previous generations of their families must have had to endure. It’s one thing to hear about relevant world events from the news, but seeing them in person gives it all a brand new perspective.
A mere three months ago as I was planning to move to Korea, I received a ton of criticism from countless people. Albeit a much less stable situation at the time, people thought that I was literally moving my life to a nuclear war zone. Hearing this effected me to the point that I even considered rescinding my application and staying put in the US.
On one night in particular, I remember calling my mom from Dallas, feeling immense stress over this major decision I was about to make. In a way that only a mother can do, she talked me off of the ledge and reassured me to stick to my guns and carry through with the plan (she is certainly rewriting the script of a typical ‘worried Jewish mother’).
It’s incredible to have witnessed first-hand the enormous changes that have occurred in the past three months. Yes, we still can’t predict what will happen – especially with a particular orange man running our country – but the prospect of peace on the Korean peninsula is looking far more promising than it has in a very long time
It’s truly a pleasure to be teaching students in a country that has endured so much pain throughout the last century and if all goes as planned, I can’t wait to see what things will be like when peace finally does come.
Until next time – Cheers!