Today, I went to the community center Korean class for the last time, sat down to write a short essay for the last time, asked the Korean tutors to check my work for the last time... and gave a speech for the last time. I haven't been going to the class regularly this semester due to busyness, but it was an integral part of my life in Changwon for my first year and a half. I'm very thankful for the 창원한글학당 (Changwon Korean Class) because it helped keep me motivated to study Korean. Anyway, here's the speech I wrote, with the translations beneath.
시간이 너무 빨리 지나갔죠? 다음 주 월요일에 저는 창원을 떠날겁니다. 그 때 이 주일 반 후에 한국을 떠날겁니다. 저는 달력을 보다가 걱정하거나 멘붕 와야 한다고 생각하는데, 실제로는 아주 침착합니다. 대개 저는 감정적인 성격이 아니거든요. 제 친구들중에도 한국을 떠나는 선생님들이 많습니다. 그들은 마지막 수업 할 때 많이 웁니다. 그러나 저는 오늘 학교에서 작별 인사 스피치를 했을 때도 눈물 하나도 없었습니다.
Time's really flown, hasn't it? Next Monday, I'm going to leave Changwon. Two and a half weeks after that, I'm going to leave Korea. I ought to be looking at my calendar and worrying or freaking out, but actually, I'm calm. I'm usually not a very emotional person, you see. Many of my friends are also teachers who are about to leave Korea. They've been doing a lot of crying in their last classes lately. But as for me, even though I gave a farewell speech at school* today, I didn't shed a tear.
제가 안 울고 있는데, 그 이유가 떠나는게 안 섭섭해서가 아닙니다. 저는 진짜 아쉽습니다. 약간 가고 싶지 않습니다. 그렇지만, 이제 저는 앞으로 나가기 위해 준비되었습니다. 이년 동안 한국에서 굉장히 즐거웠습니다. 매우 축복받은 사람이라고 생각합니다.
So I'm not crying. But it's not because I'm not sad about leaving. In fact, I feel really sorry to go! I kind of don't want to leave. But I think I'm ready to move on now. I have really, really enjoyed my two years in Korea. I feel very blessed.
저는 미국에 돌아가서 캘리포니아 버클리 대학교에서 언어학 박사학위를 시작합니다. 저는 진짜 신나고 여기서 받은 경험이 저를 도와 줄 것 같습니다. 특히 여기 창원 한글학당의 선생님들에게 감사 드립니다. 선생님들은 저를 격려하셨고 한국어를 잘 가르쳐주셨고... 창원에서 살고 있는 외국인들에게 매우 귀중한 단체입니다. 써니 쌤 열심히 지도하셔서, 또 나미 쌤 참을성있게 가르쳐주셔거, 그리고 여러분 모두 사심없이 도와주셔서 감사 드립니다.
When I go back to the United States, I'm going to start working on a PhD in Linguistics at UC Berkeley. I'm really excited, and I think my experiences here will help me. I especially want to thank the teachers at the Changwon Korean Class. You teachers have encouraged me and taught me well. The foreigners who live in Changwon have such a valuable resource in you. Sunny, thanks for enthusiastically leading the class; Nami, thanks for patiently teaching me, and to everyone, thank you for all of your self-sacrificial help.
미래에 한국에 돌아오면 다시 뵐 수 있기를 바랍니다.
In the future, I hope that I can come back to Korea and that we can see each other again.
There were not too many people at Korean class today, but the few that I really wanted to thank were there, so that was enough. Nami gave me a small farewell gift, a beautiful keychain. Man, I really am sorry to go!
*Yes, I also gave a goodbye speech at school today. It was before the end-of-the-year teachers' sports competition, which took the form of a ring-toss tournament this time. Anyway, the speech I wrote (and my co-teacher expertly translated) was a heck of a lot longer than this one. I awkwardly stumbled through it for like five minutes because the level of Korean that I was reading was way beyond me. But my principal really appreciated it, I guess. He kept saying, "아쉽다! 아쉽다!" That means, "It's too bad! It's too bad [that you're leaving]!" Perhaps I will post that speech in its entirety later.