The school asked me again (last minute, again) to write an article for the school newspaper. When I asked what it should be about, they said “my summer vacation.” When I expressed concern because I had already told all of the students about my vacation and shown pictures, they said that since my vacation was so interesting surely there must be something else I could talk about. Um. So here’s an article about friendship? It’s corny, but I think it gets the idea across?
I hope you’re enjoying the start of a new semester. You are now halfway through the year and soon will graduate, become third graders, or become second graders. Even though you had a short vacation, I hope you were able to have some R&R!
During the summer I went to America for a month, and I was struck by how familiar and unfamiliar everything was. I’m sure you felt the same when you visited your homes. When you see all of your old middle school friends they at first seem like the same people you knew before, but they have had different experiences from you, and over time things change. You can still be close, and your shared memories are still precious, but most of your recent memories don’t include them. I’m sure physical things changed too – maybe your favorite restaurant in your hometown has closed, or has switched owners. Perhaps in the time that you were in Changpyeong your family changed apartments, or even the geography of your area changed.
The highlight of my summer vacation was attending my best friend’s wedding. It was very strange for me. We had gone to high school together, and spent four years attending the same classes, the same school events, and participating in the same extracurricular activities. Then we went to separate colleges, and he stayed in America while I went to Korea. It was odd at how different our lives have turned out, but also strange at how close we still are. Though I have not lived in America for over two years, and we had not been able to spend any time together, he still asked me to give a speech at his wedding.
There is a Korean saying that I really enjoy – “”When it’s ten years, even the rivers and mountains change.” I think that this is very true. In the two years that I have lived in Changpyeong the 떡집 [the store that makes and sells rice cakes] moved, a few new restaurants opened, and the 태관도 [Taekwondo] studio was renovated. Who knows what will happen to this town in ten years? For one thing, many of us won’t be here, and Changpyeong High School will have new students, teachers, and administrative workers. Nevertheless, there is an English expression with the opposite meaning – “to stand the test of time.” This means that though rivers, mountains, and 떡집s [rice cake store] may change, certain things will remain the same forever. Though some of the roads I drove on in Virginia were unfamiliar, and some of my friendships changed, against all odds this old friendship lasted and I was able to speak at my old friend’s wedding. Regardless of what happens during this semester, know that as you study, make new friends, visit your hometown during vacation, and make new memories, some things will change and others will stand the test of time.”