Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Journey of 365 days begins with a single 11 hour flight

It's 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. While the rest of America gets dressed, packs its lunch and prepares for meetings and presentations in a severely calculated manner, I've got a different agenda. I've lived through 27 years of Wednesdays but something tells me this will be the last normal hump-day I will have for quite some time. Every glimpse of the bedroom, the hallway, the car, the airport become single frames packed into a miniature picture book. Snapshots of a life that will shortly seem like a life lived a lifetime ago. Colette, the apartment, the dog all become permanent images etched in memory to be referenced many times down the road. Take it in. Soak it up. This is my journey and it's ending, or beginning, one minute at a time.

It seems that memory can be very sharp at pivotal times or completely lackluster for others. If I ran into a student I had last year, there is a 95% chance I wouldn't be able to remember their name, but ask me the emotions evoked by certain monumental moments in my life, and you'll get a vivid recount. First minute of the first day at Darby High School in Montana? Easy. I remember a coal-sized lump lodged firmly in my throat standing outside of Mr. Rennaker's classroom. The sense of satisfaction that overwhelms you as you leave your absolute last college class. I have to rate my Maui relocation plane ride because of the utter disbelief that a) I was going to be paid to live in paradise and b) I was deemed employable. Each successful moment makes you stronger. Becoming stronger makes you strive for more successful moments. When was the last time you had one of these moments? When was the last time you took a brief second while in the moment to enjoy the true significance of that moment? Didn't it make you feel alive?

The last time I had one of these so-called "moments" was November 4th, 2007. Colette's parents dropped us off at the Greyhound station for our 3 hour jaunt to Seattle. Clad with only our backpacks and passports, the journey began, as for the very next day, we'd be airborne over the Atlantic to traverse new international lands. Exchanged US dollars to Euros ... check. Loose grasp of foreign language ... check. Rough idea where we were going to sleep the next day in London ... check. The journey, as with every journey began with an idea, a plan, and then ultimately, a single step forward. One foot in front of the other down the jetway. Did it make us feel alive? You bet.

My luggage and I; 1 suitcase, 1 duffel bag, 1 backpack, 1 laptop, 1 dude. I figure if I practice the "peace sign" long enough, I'll be able to assimilate into Korean culture without notice.

So here I am again exactly one year to the day since my last character building exercise. I've got a destination, a ticket, and several nearly non-nonsensical e-mails from a Korean woman named "Mary" that says she will be at the airport to pick me up in Busan in 15 hours. Precipice of a disaster? Maybe. Single greatest adventure of my life? Possibly. But like any other move such as a relocation to Maui, first day of school, or last college class, I won't know until I get there.

All the mental cataloging, the hours of research and near endless errands tying up the loose ends domestically won't begin to prepare me for the adventures I will incur internationally. My expectations are that I don't have any. No matter how many times you do it, it's the same butterflies, the same painful good byes, the same "finalness" that comes from ending one chapter of your life and beginning another. Passport ... check. Both suitcases ... check. Converted Won ... check. This journey, as with every journey I embarked on before, began with an idea, a plan, and then ultimately, a single step forward. One foot in front of the other down the Jetway. Do you think I feel alive?

But like I said before, to most people out there right now, it's just another Wednesday :)

Signing off from America ... Garrett

I'd really like to thank my wonderful Colette, for if it weren't for her unbridled support, I would have never had the courage to even think about attempting this.

1 comment:

Pa! said...

Maybe You "could have" a career writing for "Hall Mark" after all.

Be careful, Have fun , see ya when you get back.
Love, Dad