I’m sitting in a semi-comfortable beige arm chair (along with two other fellow teachers from Teachers for Vietnam) right now, inside one of the massage parlors at the Changi airport in Singapore. They, each having just received an hour-long massage, look as though they should: relaxed and refreshed. I, on the other hand, neither look nor feel either of those things. I do, however, know what excitement feels like, and it’s probably that electric tingling feeling that’s hitting every corner of my body like a wild game of fuse ball.
I won’t lie and say that I didn’t have a slight tear forming in the corner of my eye when the engine started rumbling back in Queens. The bright lights of Citi Field were the only ones I could still see as the plane accelerated ever higher into the warm August night. My boyfriend, Scott, and I had been there only a week before when the New York Mets were playing the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the game resulted with a disappointing final score of 5-4 with a walk-off homerun in the 10th inning for the Giants. Funnily enough, the Mets had lost the exact same way (and with the same exact score) back in June, when we went to the beautiful new stadium for the first time. They were playing the Phillies (ugh!) and we had the added bonus of sitting directly in front of several of the most obnoxious and ignorant Philly fans in the universe. Yippee!
Why all this talk about baseball when I’m boarding a flight to Vietnam in several hours, a country where they probably haven’t even heard of the sport let alone know the rules of how it’s played? Good question. I guess I find it funny that up until several months ago, I could really care less about baseball. I never had an interest in baseball because I never really took the time to sit down and appreciate the game. And now that I’ve watched countless Mets games with a boyfriend who is quite the fan, I realize how much I’m going to miss it. And him.
After that first tear, though, I didn’t cry. There’s no need to cry when I’m starting one of the most exciting adventures that I’ll ever have in my life. There’s no need to cry because the Mets will always be there. So will New York. And so will everything else in Rockland County that I have left behind, for now.
What won’t always be there is this opportunity that I’ve decided to seize upon, and I am satisfied with the decision that I’ve made. I’m excited to learn all about my students: what they like to eat, what sports they like to play, what books they like to read, and so on. The opportunity to make connections with people who come from a life so different than my own is something I am more than ready to embrace, and a job that I am more than proud to accept.
And who knows – maybe one day, they’ll come visit me in America. We can sit together under the bright lights of Citi Field and feel the vibrations of the plane engines soaring above us, filled with hundreds of thousands of excited travelers taking off from JFK.
I am but one of millions.