Thursday, January 21, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 21: Live in Harmony with Each Other and Celebrate the Differences

We are separated by countries, cultures and religions, but we live in one world. Whenever I see the spinning globe on my sidebar, I am reminded of that. When I see it there with all the countries, it seems so small. The little dots on the globe represent people who have read my blog. Those dots are also so small, but all the people I have come in contact with are so important to me.

When I was very young, I wanted to see the world. I wasn't comfortable only knowing my little corner of it. It seemed so limited and the world seemed so vast. When I was in my late teens, I lived in Spain. That was my first time to ever live outside my corner of the world. When I arrived, I was determined to embrace as much of the culture as possible, learn the language and take in as much of the country as possible. Since this was my first time overseas, I was so scared when I arrived at my host family's house. Everyone spoke Spanish a mile a minute, I didn't understand. Everything was completely different from my corner of the world. How would I survive?

Time passed and I started to use my Spanish everyday. I started to learn and understand about the culture. I started to love everything about it and love the people. By the end of my time there I didn't want to leave.

This one experience sparked my determination to see and understand more of the world. I traveled down to Mexico and taught English there, ventured further down to Peru and Bolivia by myself and completely meshed with the people and culture there. At one point in Peru, I was so far away from everything I knew. I was in a very primitive place which did not have much exposure to the outside world. I stood out like a sore thumb among the native people there. Instead of casting me out, they grabbed my hands and included me in their dancing and singing. They were celebrating the new harvest.

(I traveled alone all over Peru with just the small bag you see. Dancing in the Harvest Festival with the locals in my early 20s)

I went on and traveled all over Asia, including India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Tibet, China, Nepal, Korea, and Japan. I lived in Japan for two years and Korea for 8 years. I met my husband, a former Buddhist monk, in South Korea. Everywhere I went, I became completely immersed with where I was.
(My traditonal Korean wedding in May 2003 in South Korea)

After living many years overseas, I decided that I missed my little corner of the world. I realized that it is a beautiful place. I also realized that the entire world lived in that place. I didn't need to go far to experience the world. I got a job at a local community college and now I teach English as a Second Language. I love my job. My students are all so unique. They teach me so much. They all come from different countries, cultures and religions. The people in the classes I teach are so joyful and kind to each other. There is such harmony in my class and yet, we are all so different. Maybe it is because we share and celebrate these differences.

(Students in my class representing over 15 different countries)

I live in Seattle, Washington. On my street there is a Mexican family, a Nepali family, and an Indian family. All countries I have visited in the past. Every summer we have a block party. We block off the street and have a barbecue in the middle of the road. People bring dishes of food and we set up a table in the street. We bring our own chairs and just sit around and talk to each other. I feel so grateful to live in a place with so much diversity. I feel lucky to have the world in my backyard.

59 comments:

Rondell said...

Hey y'all. I'm from Tupelo, MS. Can I too be one of your dots on the map?

Katherine Jenkins said...

You can be a dot on my map anytime. Visit me over at my blog. Peace to you Rondell!

Lindsey said...

I love this blog, full of charm!

prashant said...

I love this post!

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Abigail Jasmine said...

What a life lived!!

Katherine Jenkins said...

Thank you every one. I hope you stop by and check my blog out. Peace to you all, Kathy

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