Yesterday was our last day at school. We had a mushy gushy ceremony where the students sang to us in Korean and we each got to share one last teary message with them. They gave us little gifts, and we finished with a very unsugary cake for all the summer birthdays. It was good... sweet, sentimental.. everything it should have been.
Then a few minutes later as everyone was mingling and saying more goodbyes, Leah, a student that I've gown pretty close to, pulled me and Kayla aside to talk to us alone. "Story," she said. She wanted to tell us a story, but she wanted to be able to tell it in her language so she could really express herself well. So, we found someone to translate.
Leah said that she didn't like us at the beginning of the summer. She had only been at the school for a month and barely even knew the alphabet. All we would do was speak English to her, which mad her feel sad, angry, and frustrated. But, she said we persisted to love her and so she began to want to learn so she could speak to us. Our team grew on her, but Kayla and I had a special place in her heart because of the way we had befriended her. Then with tears in her big brown eyes she said that she knew it's inevitable that we would be leaving soon, but that she wanted us to go back home, study, do well in school, and have good lives. She said she would pray for us everyday and pray that we would one day get to meet again.
Tears filled my eyes, and I could see in Leah's face one reason why God has brought me to South Korea this summer.
Leah has learned over 600 words just since we've been here and speaks to me more than any of the other students.
I remember meeting Leah and after just a few days her saying with a big frown, "I am sad. I cannot speak English." I told her we would teach her. Not long after that, I began to notice improvements in her Enligh every day. Every morning Leah would ask me, "Did you have breakfastee?" Leah's a tiny little thing with a big smile on her face every day. "Happy everyday!" she always says. She would go around saying "I piggy" after I called her a pig one day when she downed 6 pork chops at lunch. She's the only Korean I know that won't eat rice. "Rice no delicious." I think she just wanted as much room as she could for delicious foods. She would always make fun of the hair on my arms.. hair down, she calls it, like a down comforter I guess. My favorite thing about Leah was every time I would see her she would hug me so tight and say, "I miss you."