“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller
Curiosity is beautiful. From the start of my childhood, I have been innately curious about the world around me. The thrills of discovering languages unfamiliar to my ears, devouring dishes of unrecognizable ingredients, immersing myself in bewilderingly diverse ecosystems, or partaking in peculiar religious practices are experiences that I crave. Breaking away from my comfort zone, my safety net, and my invulnerabilities allows me to reflect and learn in ways I could never attain from the tales of others alone.
This coming year will be a test of my strength in more ways than one. I will be living in a country where I know not a single human being, nor do I understand the language. My task over the next 10 months is to teach the English language to secondary school students at SMK Semerah Padi in Sarawak, Malaysia. Through teaching English, I hope to accomplish another goal: to connect. By sharing my ideas, beliefs, language, and experiences with this new world, I can only yearn that it will do the same for me. How can it not? Every person has experiences and ideas worth sharing. I’m making it my goal to learn as much as I can about my community, my students, and how language can overcome obstacles which may seem insurmountable.
This blog will chronicle the daily crests and troughs of my journey in and around southeast Asia. It will be a mosaic of anecdotes detailing the lives of my students and community, new places traveled, and what it all means to me. I am confident that my curiosity will thrive in Malaysia, and that I will attain the beauty I seek: the beauty of connection.