Devin's Drawing-essay "Handspan Diary" (no. 2 _ 20180910): Day 46



It has already been almost 50 days since I started studying abroad.

When I was thinking of leaving Korea,

full of regrets about everything suffocated me.

My favorite Korean products that I have always used

or people I met often,

a facility or store that I felt free to visit comfortably...

All the reluctance to give up kept bothering me.

I wondered if I could survive in this way though,

the time has already passed so quickly.


I've never lived abroad before.

Especially case of the U.S.,

there had never been any single chance

to have even a commonplace short trip in my life.

Couldn't dare feel that I'd arrived here already.

It's hard to believe that I really live here.

For about 50 days, which can be short or long,

A few impressions and experiences that have blossomed in my daily life can be illustrated briefly as follows.


#. How sounds and conversations are delivered


When in Korea


This is what it looked like when we were talking face to face,



Or it was like this when I had to tell my story in front of people.

In the US (especially in class)



This is how it looks.


​Occasionally, I want to explain my thoughts and ideas coherently in English during the class discussion.

However, sometimes my English doesn't agree with my thoughts, so I get frustrated.

Professors with a deep understanding of international students and open-minded colleagues gather around me when I get panicked while saying something.



To carefully listen and understand what I'm saying,

all of them unite their ears to me.



Of course, it made me get sweaty though...;;;


I always feel appreciative of their generosity, effort, and willingness to support.

But at the same time, as I clearly recognize that I can't always rely on their tolerance,

I need to get better and grow.

My consistent impatience also chases me closely.



#. The story of the hare and the tortoise _ The race of mouth and ears


When I think back...

In Korea, I feel, my mouth always preceded my ears.

My thoughts and heart used to be hasty.

Before listening enough to others, it seems that there were many times when my mouth was ahead.



However, in the US, that doesn't work anymore.

My ears are busier than my mouth.

Some things are understandable,

but some things I don't fully understand.

Can't dare to respond without careful listening.

Yes. "hearing" is not mine.

I should "listen."



#. H...hey... won't you put me in too...?? _ Jumping into the discussion

Sometimes the flow of discussion and their conversation is too fast and dynamic to cut in.

Some friends of mine were not sure whether the circumstance was on purpose or unintentionally though, they said that sometimes they feel alienated by some people.


I was saddened to hear it.


Even though I also often had moments I couldn't keep up with their conversation,

Fortunately, no one treated me like that.

Rather, they leave a door wide open so that I can intervene.

It feels like they're eagerly waiting for me.


​"Devin! Don't wait! Just jump into!"




# Found a new me



When I lived in Korea, including my parents, many people considered me that I'm strong and smart.

Hence they used to say that there's nothing to worry about me.

However, that sometimes saddened and isolated me.

I'm not that strong, and I'm not that great.

It was difficult and daunting to receive such nonsense trust.


Ridiculously, after arriving in America, as much as I wished and thought, I was able to realize I'm not that strong indeed.

It feels like being a baby wrapped in rags and settled in a cradle.

Got lost, ended up in the wrong place, made people concerned,

and started to frankly and frequently say "help me"

whenever I felt insecure about what I knew and checked out.

Because asking for help is 1 million times better

than pretending know-it-all and making trouble and huge mistakes.


The more I tried hard to do anything not to make people worry, the more they felt insecure.

Were tears dripping out of my smile?


When depressed due to being in my unhappy new-normal mode,

one of the teachers who taught me English in Korea said below.

Hey, Devin. Wouldn't it be nice to be cared for by others? It doesn't mean you are worse than before or can do nothing. You can be at ease and think like, 'Ah- people can look after me in this way. I can also have this experience, and it is not a bad thing at all!' Right? Sometimes let them be happy to help you. Because you are a human being, you can not only be strong but also feel infinitely weak. Stop driving yourself toward a corner.

On an unexpected journey, I keep finding a new me I've never known before now.

How many more will I encounter new myself in the future?