Ever since the new school year (with fresh first graders), my walk to school has changed to the shortest possible route (I love my sleep...). The change came when I discovered a back entrance, so I now walk on a different main road to get to school. (And just last week I found an alley that cuts 30 seconds off of my "commute"!). Coming in through the back gate means that I enter through a side door behind the school. This takes me up a flight of stairs usually full of first graders. Cute, sweet, excited-to-see-me first graders. So my mornings are oh-so pleasant with my short enjoyable walk, and then being greeted by the first graders on my way up the stairs and through the hallway to my office.
Today while walking home from school, two young girls (not students I have in class) saw me and said hello, asked me my name, and said "Nice to meet you". And as I said goodbye when the girls left to enter the public library, it hit me. This could very well be the only time in my life that my daily routine (aka job) involves being welcomed by smiles from cute kids at every corner. It's amazing, the happy feelings I get so often thanks to these kids. The students aren't like this when they see a Korean teacher, but I - the native English teacher - am special (At least that's how they make me feel!). Quick disclaimer here: not all students greet me or are happy to see me, but I just focus on how wonderful it is that there are many students who do and are. I'm so thankful for these students, and also this school and its teachers.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."