Alarm clock. Radio News. Cereal. Snow. No jogging today.
My typical day opens with a beautiful view of mountains. White cozy clouds take a rest in a clear balmy sky; birds wake up to sing a song whispering to my sleeping spirit. Along a narrow road, horses are staring into the sky with slack bodies in front of a weathered, old time-rustic barn. Peaceful, clean, and bright feelings arise spontaneously as I deeply breathe while looking at these views. Yes, I am in Montana.
I remember my first class in Montana State University. “aslghksjh?gsajl?uehwasd?luehr;qoherquhe, Do you have any questions?” Panic. How could I have any questions without listening and understanding? At the end of class, my professor said, “and this ‘homework’ is due Wednesday.” Bang. Homework! All of my faith that I could study successfully was collapsing rapidly with just one quick snap sound. I looked around, and everyone started packing up. I had no time. I needed to find someone. My mission was so clear and straight forward, but the clock was ticking. I could feel the main actor’s feeling in Mission Impossible. My sharp eagle eyes were checking on each person, and my sensitive tiger nose smelled each person’s scent.
The Mission Impossible theme song was playing from my cerebrum. Right at that moment, I quickly stretched my hand to a guy with a benevolent smile who was walking by me. I made a sound. “H.E.L.P.E. M.E.” It was a dry but very ardent plea with mournful eyes. His name was Jeff, and the other guys standing next to him were Clay and Micha. They helped me a lot and risked a lower grade by having me as a teammate on a group project. Yes, they are dude angels. Their help and consideration showed me a path to go up from a rough valley, and climbing up was my responsibility. I stepped forward with my strengthened feet. Every single trial still weighed heavily upon me, but I trusted my friends and my effort. That gave me power and brought me up the hill. I haven’t stopped going forward, and still I leap over obstacles. Here I am, in Montana.
270 days later.
The past nine months have been a drastic experience. Someone might ask what I have learned in America, and I answer this: confidence. I came here with nothing. I didn’t have any friends or relatives. Even my language and basic means of living were poor. I was totally naked. However, whenever I faced problems, very magically, this world tried to drag me into the solution. So now, I am confident that I can transform nothing into everything. Every time you start something, you become a beginner. In that state, you don’t know where to go, what to do. In business, work, love, and conflict, we are naive and innocent.
There is a great way you can experience these aspects of life: going abroad. It will take you back to the beginning of your life when you were a baby. There is no mommy who you can cry out for. At the beginning, you’ll feel the real meaning of “Desperate” with every nerve cell trying to cling to the edge to save yourself. However, after six months or one year, you will say that everything is possible. In the first few months of being in America, I felt every day like a disabled person: dumb and deaf. However, I trusted and said to myself, “You can do it better today,” and I would imagine myself using English like a native speaker. I still have a long way to go to improve my English, but I have learned a more important thing from my long journey. A lot of people whom I have met helped me to go through this hard time, and they became my allies and supporters.
They are right next to me. I have always looked far away to find more valuable things, but I have recognized that the most valuable thing is the present. Precious time is right now and important people are the ones who are sharing all the joys and sorrows with me. My life in Korea was full of treasure. My companions supported me, but I didn’t notice because I was staring into a faraway dream. Once I go back to Korea, and when I meet my friends, girlfriend, and family, I want to express my feelings with this priceless sentence: “Thank you.” Shortly after, my life in Korea begins.