In one of my previous blogs, I talked about the doors of life.
There are doors that we want to open but are kept closed. Doors that we force ourselves into, and doors that open up whether we like it or not.
Roughly 3 months ago, I took an unfamiliar door by teaching English to foreign university students.
There were questions, as always. Would I be effective? Do I really have what it takes?
But I took it as a challenge. An answered prayer. God wouldn’t give this – at such a perfect time – if it wasn’t for my good. So I said yes.
I wouldn’t get into details about my first day or the days that followed. But I would like to describe the whole experience using these words.
1. A scary yet fulfilling adventure
I’ve never been immersed to any other culture aside from my own. I am no K-Pop fan nor a J-Pop fanatic. I’ve never tried learning another language except some Spanish lessons back in college. But it’s true when they say that when you take a leap of faith into the unknown, the result can be rewarding. After eight weeks of being around and teaching Koreans and Japanese, talking to them, learning their culture, understanding how they think, how they feel, and how they interact, I started seeing each day as an adventure. Everyday, I go to school not knowing what to expect but I was excited. And tell you, it was the first time I felt good about Mondays. (!!) I looked forward to teaching even if I know it would be difficult. Cause the truth is, I was looking forward seeing my eager students learn even if it was difficult for them.
2. An eye opener
This is my favorite part. The part when teaching foreigners opened my eyes to many realities about this world. I had many discoveries about Korea and Japan, mostly about what the situation is in their countries when it comes to studying, getting a job, achieving their dreams, and so on. I saw many differences and similarities between them and Filipinos. But what amused me is that while I was teaching, I was also learning – not really about history but about thinking beyond. The question “why?” started to linger. There must be a good reason why everyone – Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, (etc) – despite all obvious and subtle differences, are sharing the same planet, breathing the same air, and crossing paths with each other. There must be a reason why we have similarities and differences. On the other hand, I would like to think that no matter how diverse, people can agree on one thing and meet at one point..
And so I asked myself, “What could be that common point?” I remember seeing a cross tattoo on one of my students and while looking at it, the student immediately said the tattoo didn’t mean anything. I kept quiet and respected such remark. I don’t know, but at that moment, I felt something heavy in my heart. Was it sadness? Perhaps. As days passed, I wondered, “How many more?” And then it dawned on me: There was A LOT. So yes, it was life changing because it’s the first time I felt burdened about something.
4. A door that leads to another
Eight incredible weeks. Many learnings. New friends. Major realizations. One burden. All because of one door. So what’s next? I resolve to continue this path as far as teaching goes. I enjoyed every aspect of being an ESL teacher – facing the unknown, the diversity, and the respect that I received and developed towards the people I’ve met.
It couldn’t be any clearer: Each of us – regardless of race, achievement, language, faith, belief (or the lack of it) – need God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ.
And that is the only point where all of us could safely meet.
Where, when, and how? I don’t know.
But I’m sure the One who built the door and had let me in would take care of the little details..as always.
This door ain’t closing yet. It’s just leading me to the next.
If am to be honest, my heart is telling me to go forth and share the Good News to many nations, one student at a time.
May God give me the courage to do so if this is His will.