Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Bravery

Stop calling me "brave." Really. I'm not.

Many people, upon hearing that I am going off to South Korea by myself, without knowing anyone (something my extended family seems to be worried about), I hear that I am "so brave!" Well, if you know me, and my history, you'd really see that this choice to go and teach English abroad has nothing to do with bravery, but within my nature.

You see, I am a child of immigrants. My parents and I came over from Finland 20 years ago (21 this August). Wanting to keep up my Finnish language skills (which we have spoken at home always), they would send me to Finland every summer to see my extended family starting at the age of eight. This went on until I was about 15, when I "studied abroad" there for a year, staying with my uncle (which is a whole story in and of itself, but I digress). My grandparents have seemed to be oh-so-grateful that I seem to be the only one in my family who goes to Finland to visit every year (usually summers, but this year I ended up going in January as I have mentioned before).

Well? What do you expect? This has been hard-wired in me ever since I was a very little girl. Every summer-sent to Finland. I mean, is that so hard to understand? It has nothing to do with me. It's just the way it's "always been."

When I started college, my father took a job in China and I have been to China several times, including a semester during which I studied Chinese. Asia seems to be my new frontier, so to speak. I fell in love with Asia since I have been there, and have many Asian friends.

Therefore, taking in my past of traveling, and my current love of Asia, is it so hard to rationalize that I put the two together...while getting paid for it (a definate bonus)? The idea isn't so hard to figure out, at least to my knowledge. It may be more difficult for those who have not had the same experiences as I have. (not that I meant that in a boasting way at all!!!!) Since I have no outstanding talent in anything, what else would I do?

So to say that I'm "brave" for doing this crazy Asian adventure, keep in mind my past history, it's really not so "brave" at all. It makes sense. In fact, I'm absolutely terrified. I get scared at every major juncture in my life, such as: starting high school, "studying abroad" to Finland, starting college, and now this. I don't deal with transitions well. It's just a fact of my life. I have often been very "self-aware" of where some of these issues come from, but this one I'm just not so sure or at least I haven't figured it out yet. I am being shaken to my core at this major life change. I've spent most of today in a semi-panicked mode because I realized that I only have a week left here in the States, with my family and friends (and dogs). I've pondered and worried about every possible scenario that may happen while I'm gone (like what if something happens to my dog, what if something happens to me, what if something happens to my mom etc.??) It is only by the Grace of God that I am sitting here somewhat sane right now.

This is perhaps the biggest change of my life. Though I've always had the feeling that this will be a good thing for me. That something good is waiting for me out there (I'm hoping it's a future life partner, heh, but I digress). I'm taking it a day at a time. Trying to think positive. Trying to lean on God's support, since I certainly can't do it alone.

Am I "brave?" Absolutely not. I am a terrified wreck. Does this mean I'm chickening out? No. Way. I'm in it all the way, and I think it'll be a blast (once I stop worrying about it).

I won't be translating this into Finnish. Sorry Grandma.

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