By Emily Iversen
Roller coasters are supposed to be fun, but I’ve never enjoyed them. Who wants their stomach to jump between their throat and their feet? I’d like it to stay exactly where it’s supposed to be. That’s why I surprised myself when I committed to go on the scariest roller coaster I could find. I bought my ticket, made sure I was tall enough to ride, and otherwise prepared myself for the journey.
When I agreed to move to South Korea for a year and teach five-year-olds how to speak English, I expected the ride to be bumpy. I knew I would be challenged. After being here almost 3 months, I find I’m learning so much about myself and having a lot of fun experiencing an entirely new way of life. Occasionally, I hit a loop-de-loop and find myself feeling very alone. During one of those overwhelming moments I discovered an invisible link that travels nearly 7,000 miles from South Korea to North Carolina. This strong connection has been keeping me upright when my stomach is doing flip flops. This link is always there to remind me how much I am loved and supported.
I know that this love will sustain me as my first Christmas away from friends and family approaches. I know you are there on Christmas Eve singing songs and lighting candles, and I am there too, because you have brought me along.
The strength we are given and the strength we are able to acknowledge as our own can be vastly different. Without the hope and love I am supplied with from this tiny invisible life line, I don’t think I’d be able to see how strong I actually am or recognize how grateful I am to be blessed with such a powerful connection.
Pullen member Emily Iversen is teaching at an English language immersion school in South Korea.