Sunday, August 11, 2013
As the saying goes, a woman is like the weather – unpredictable! I’m no exception to this rule. On my way to the movies this evening, I took a detour and ended up sharing dinner with two special people.
I know that by judging by my photo uploads, it may seem as if ALL my students are special. They are. And I pride myself on having unique relationships with each of them. Essentially, my students are clients. Yet, for me – they are first people. Before they’re a student in my class or one who visits my office, I have to remember that they are a son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father or mother to someone else.
So, back to my story of dinner this evening…
“What is the benefit of your job for you?” one asked me.
“Wow – do you have enough time?!” I replied.
My job has made me super rich. I kid you not! I consider myself rich in knowledge of cultures, religions and lifestyles of people throughout the world. Most importantly I’m rich in love. There are days I can’t fathom the love I receive from the people I work with. I mean genuine caring for me! How can I not feel fulfilled with a job like this?
While teaching, I maintained a strict rule of boundaries with my students. Work + Play = No.
However, since being in my current position of AY Coordinator this year, I have come to know a number of students on a non-academic level. I’ve spoken to people who are terribly homesick and afraid to tell their families, people who are lonely and unwilling to make friends, people who are ill, people who have ended long-term relationships and are here in South Africa trying to “find” themselves.
Whatever the reason may be, there are few with whom I have felt a strong connection with.
This evening while chatting to Yousef, he told me that he will most likely be leaving Cape Town at the end of October. For a reason unbeknown to me, I have come to regard Yousef as a brother. I just stared back at him and that is when I made the realization of why I DON’T like my job.
Goodbyes are unpleasant for anyone. But if I think of the past 3 months at least, I’ve had to say goodbye to people like Serif, Meral and Ho-Yong – who I felt a personal responsibility for. Having lived in Korea for three years, I felt responsible to take care of him here just as I was when I was in his country a few years ago.
This is it. This is the reason why I DON’T like my job. Saying goodbye to these people who have made a lasting impression on me.
Some may argue that I get emotionally attached too quickly. Perhaps. But I refuse to let my heart prune up and become hard.
In conclusion, the reason I have become rich is through the genuine love I have for the people I work for and teach. Everyday feels like a trip around the world and I thank them for allowing me into their space, their homes and their heart.
Yet…the number one reason I DON’T like my job is bidding someone farewell. It's the nature of my job. Students are here for a limited period of time and ultimately - if there is no other reason for them to stay here - they return to their home countries. Back to their own life as they know it!
But this is the cycle of life, not so? There isn’t a single person whom I’ve met who has not taught me something. For this, I thank each and every one of you. And believe me when I say that I have a special place in my heart reserved for every individual! J