How Shall I Put This?

Ever since I started telling people I’d passed my EPIK interview, I’ve gotten a certain response, after I explained what it meant. It’s one of those “I don’t know what I should say in response to this, so I’ll just laugh and say thank you.”

The response is – “You’re so brave!”

And I appreciate the intent with which the comment is made. I understand that it’s meant as a compliment, I accept it as such, and I don’t (usually) dwell on it.

Except that I have one of those brains that grabs hold of an idea – usually a useless one – and obsesses over it. And what it has grabbed onto right now is this: There are many things I feel like right now, but brave isn’t really one of them.

Boring through your mind, through your tummy, through your... let's leave it there, shall we?
Boring through your mind, through your tummy, through your… let’s leave it there, shall we?

Mostly, I’m a strange combination of scared and excited.  Confident and completely unprepared. Completely exhausted. Confused, because I feel like time is moving too quickly and too slowly all at once, and I can’t find a way to stand still for long enough to work out what’s really going on around me.

But I don’t feel brave. I’ve lived in Pretoria, in the same house, since… always. I’ve never been out of the country before. I feel more foolhardy that courageous. I feel a tiny bit like a hobbit leaving the Shire.

(Guess which movie my mom and I saw last week…)

I don’t know why I don’t feel as brave as everyone else thinks. I should. What I’m doing is obviously considered very brave by the people around me, and I know that many of them feel that they couldn’t do what I’m doing. And that’s probably true, but…

I was thinking about what my other options would have been, had I stayed in South Africa. I honestly don’t know what they would have been. I can’t imagine them at all, or maintaining a life here now, given that I know (even if only just secondhand) what I’d be missing out on if I decided not to go.

And the more I think about, the more I realise how my brain has been processing the idea of the word brave. I don’t think I’ve ever though of the word brave in terms of a rational, well considered and thoroughly planned decision. Brave actions always seem a bit rash and unprepared. All rushing headlong into danger, in defiance of all the nasty, uncomfortable things that one may encounter that would make one late for dinner.

(Sorry. Again.)

And I know that’s not what people mean when they say it, but… you know, staying would be braver than leaving at this point. I know what to expect in Korea. At least… more than I know what I could expect of my life here now.

So. This has been pointless and rambling.

I think this is what I mean to say.
I think this is what I mean to say.

2 thoughts on “How Shall I Put This?

  1. Heather, I feel both excited and nervous as well. And lots of people have told me you are so brave! I’m jealous! Or you will do great! Luckily, the added encouragement is nice since I have no previous teaching experience. Let’s go on an adventure together~


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