“I’m locked in a bittersweet emotion now because I may not see you guys for a long time. But never take it seriously. You will meet new students soon. As you know, the important thing is that we had a great time.”
Recently, a new activity had caught my pleasure. I was doing my research work one evening when I clicked a wrong folder from the pictures section. Photos from a student of mine suddenly popped out. Seeing the pictures, I decided to take a look at them one by one. I had met an interesting fellow with the same interests as me. I could still remember how I became acquainted with this guy. He’s from South Korea and his name is Kevin (Younghoon Kim), an affable man with an open heart. His age is the same as mine. Although he only studied with me for a week, we got along pretty well by some common interests.
As a new teacher in a language school, Kevin was my second student and my very first Korean student. He studied in the academy for just two months. It was one Monday afternoon when we had our first meeting. The weather was hot and I felt sleepy while waiting for our training time. When the training was about to start, I was told unexpectedly that I have a new student and he was already waiting in the assigned room. In surprise, I stood right away and rushed along the hallway. I had reached our room and there, I saw him holding and sipping a cup of coffee while waiting for my arrival. At first glance, he looked serious. But when we had our conversation, I learned that he wasn’t that serious at all. Rather, he was friendly and easygoing. Looking at him was more like looking at a picture of a typical male Korean in a military service because of his haircut. What I enjoyed most though were the talks I had with him. We shared thoughts about Davao City. I also found out that he doesn’t drink any alcoholic beverages just as I do. He told me his hobbies, his hometown, as well as his reasons and purposes for studying English. I was delighted knowing that I met another friend.
As a student, he was eager to study English. He transferred from one teacher to another not just to meet new friends but also, to learn and experience other English communication skills that he wanted to improve. Sadness fell upon me at first for he stayed for only a week in my class. But later on, I learned that it’s normal for a student to transfer to another teacher.
Many days flew by. He kept on studying English grammar day and night. He even asked for the help of other teachers he met during break time or lunch time. He had learned the differences between two synonymous words or expressions, their form and function. He was determined to become a fluent English speaker before he sets foot in Canada. On weekends, he spent his time going to different places with fellow students in the academy. I also heard that he spent most of his time hanging out with some Japanese students. Perhaps, this was his way of encouraging himself to speak English more.
His quest in Davao had ended in the middle of February. He’s now in Canada studying while meeting lots of multicultural friends. He may be away but we also get in touch sometimes. I always give him a helping hand whenever he finds something that is difficult to comprehend in English. A book, no matter how well-written, is still just a book. One must seek an in-depth explanation of something through the help of an expert. As a friend, it’s also my job to keep on teaching him. Every time he posts something in Facebook, I am impressed for his progress in learning English. It makes me proud of him.
By now, he is probably missing Davao City -its warmth, the beautiful meeting of sky and beaches, as well as the hospitable people. The culture, food, language, and weather might be different, but as he got along and became part of the lives of the locals, he had become a native of the place. Being a traveler with an open heart would open him to more opportunities of finding other places in the city. Each place had its own beauty. He would definitely miss the stuffing heat and the harsh emissions of jeepneys.
I just realized something: we are given beautiful moments to enjoy but in the end, we realized that they’re just brief and temporary. Life will just continue again as if nothing happened. But at least, we learned that those temporary things made us happy and all that’s left for us is to treasure them in our memory.