April 16, 2015 – One Year Later – The Sewol Ferry

Today was a beautiful day in Korea – sunny and clear, though a bit chilly. For a brief time in the afternoon, however, the sky became gray and rain pounded down on Gwangju. It was as they were collective tears from Korea’s pain in remembrance of the Sewol ferry tragedy one year ago today.

The incident led to the recognition of underlying issues ingrained in the bali-bali culture. Many lost faith in the government and do not feel proud to be Korean anymore. It has been an intense year in Korea, yet there’s so much I don’t understand as an outsider. It’s important to move forward and push for change because this incident is not isolated. Several other tragedies resulted from a lack of safety precautions.

But let’s not lose sight of the individual victims. Let’s not forget that we are all human. Losing so many young and ambitious lives, especially in an incident that could have been prevented, is an absolute tragedy.

I teach 223 students, almost the amount of students’ lives lost last year. I cannot fathom what it would be like for them all to disappear one day. Danwon High School must feel like a hauntingly depressing graveyard.

All of the students at my school will go on a field trip tomorrow. The hallways will be eerily quiet. I won’t smell the random scents of candy or gum or watch kids chase each other on the field. I know they will be back next week, but just the thought of them not being on Earth anymore is insanely disturbing.

But it happened. They’re not my students, but they’re someone’s students. Someone’s child. Someone with ambitions, memories, worries, probably a crush.

This article left me crying this morning before my first class. It made the situation feel so real, which it is.

During broadcasting between classes today, the school watched this beautiful sand art in the making. Forget me not.

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