By Sua Yoo, III Form
Once Home, Always Home
The day was hectic. After spending half of the afternoon in the shopping mall looking for a neat set of clothes, I had to dig around the house to pack the luggage in preparation for a two-month-long stay. I should have felt no burden since I was lucky enough to move to the United States in the middle of a chaotic pandemic. Yet, exhaustion conquered excitement; the whole new life that kept me awake for weeks was blocked by immediate tiredness, and the only wish I had in my mind was to stop thinking about all that I have been through.
As I frantically searched my closet, what instantly came into my sight was not the packing list I had in hand, but the NLCS school uniform that I had been wearing for the past four years. It was signed with at least a dozen handwritten messages from the people who were once precious to me. Peering at each mark on the shirt, I recalled which was made by whom, what that person meant to me, and what kind of person I was to them. Throughout my time atmy old school, NLCS Jeju, I was constantly influenced by the community there and the relationships I formed.
Before I began my journey at NLCS, I was an entirely different individual. I was a shy girl, trapped inside the conservative society of Korea that limited my view to only what was inside the country. I never had any chance to have a broader dream and venture out into a global realm. My home was restricted to my family inside the city of Seoul: it was confinement, not a belonging.
However, a brand new opportunity was thrown to me as I entered an international school on Jeju Island. It was, at first, an uncomfortable experience as I had to face an environment I was not introduced to before. Therefore, if my experience was only a change of location and nothing else special, I would not have stayed there for so long. What fascinated me were the people as they were completely different from those I had knownall my life. I was surrounded by students from all over the nation, and, among them, I encountered those who dreamed of a greater future. Shortly afterward, I was merged into the pool I dived into and became part of the alliance of higher goals. To me, they passed on their spirits of enthusiasm, passion, and energy. However, what mattered most was that Above all I truly belonged to a community that I did not believe to have existed.
The shirt I held in my hands was the very outcome of my time in such a community. On the day just before the end of the school year, everyone celebrated my transition to a new school. As they wrote comments on my shirt, I reflected on how much I had grown with them. They left an unerasable mark not only on my possession but also on the development of my identity, both of which would remain there forever no matter what. Although NLCS may not be a permanent position I would hold, it is undoubtedly one of the landmarks on the way of my life, as well as a significant element in the configuration called me.
Solemnly, I put back the shirt inside the drawer and carried on packing for tomorrow. Now, I am about to make yet another journey, this time completely outside of Korea. Once again, I would be assigned to a different home, a place called St. Mark’s. Some people there would be not even close to anyone I have met in the past;still, it is a process of change. It is a step further outside of the zone of confinement constructed by physical barriers. By placing myself at a boarding school in the United States, I am given a chance to meet a new community, that would eventually construct a part of myself as an indestructible bond in a few years. In the end, I would evolve. I might not recognize who I am now as being myself, as I do not comprehend how I was before moving to NLCS.
Home is indeed neither a starting line, nor a destination; it is an ongoing process. It encompasses NLCS, St. Mark’s, and all the future stopping points, like each scene in a film, passing by momentarily but forming a unique story as a whole.
Putting all the thoughts behind, I dragged myself to the bed, almost two hours earlier than usual. There was a plane to catch.
Sua Yoo is a III form boarding student from South Korea who is enjoying her new life at St. Mark’s. She likes to write analytical, persuasive, and narrative essays. As her hobbies, she also spends time on digital arts and cross country. Interested in mathematics and biology, she aspires to learn and explore the fields of neurology and genetics in the future.