Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thankful Impact; the Personal Growth of Guest Blogger Justin Pierce Baldwin Gerald

What can I say about my four-named friend, Justin Pierce Baldwin Gerald? Justin is a dynamo, my favorite feminist, and he loves to stir the pot...but he doesn't run from the thoughts he stirs up in others. This brilliant young man has been a pleasure to get to know. From gatherings of trivia challenges to see how much our expatriate community knows while under the influence to crossing cultural boundaries of our in-the-box is Justin Pierce Baldwin Gerald, a man of many talents.
What I am Grateful for
By: Justin Pierce Baldwin Gerald

What am I grateful for in Korea? Education.
I’m grateful for the chance to try and be a great educator for me 800 students, who still see me as something of an ambassador, a role I’ve done my best to fulfill adequately.

I’m grateful to see them grow and change, not only as students of English, but young adults of the world.

I’m grateful for the chance to educate myself. My job allows me a lot of free time, and while I certainly have my fun, I spend a lot of it reading and writing, and, as some know, trying to stir up discussion among interested parties. During my vacations, I’ve tried to stay away from purely party locales – which isn’t to say I was completely sober in, say, Saigon – and done my best to come away from my trips with a greater understand of the world I am a part of.
I’m grateful to be living in a country that, for all its flaws (and every country has them), tends to treat me with the respect I feel I deserve. I’m grateful to have had the chance to educate myself through the extremely varied people I’ve met over the last 21 months, people who speak every language and live in every corner of the globe. New York is diverse, but the grab bag of foreigners here is something I’ve been glad to dive into.

I’m grateful to have learned a sliver of a new language, even though I could have studied harder. And I’m glad I’ve used my time here productively, so I can return home truly saying I grew up just a little bit.

Before I left New York, I told myself that, no matter what happened, my time in Korea was going to be used to kickstart adulthood. The half-year or so before I came here I was a bum. I was broke, living on my dad’s couch, buying DVDs and watching them alone, eating and drinking and gaining weight, and being rightfully scolded for doing so. As I prepare to return home in February – after a few short trips abroad – I am grateful that I’ve done all the wallowing I’ll ever do, and from this day forward, it’s merely onward and upward.

And I’m grateful that I can say that at the age of 23, because most people aren’t lucky enough to have that chance at any age.

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