A rice paddy during harvest time near Ochang, South Korea.

One of the neatest parts about biking all summer in Korea was the chance to observe rice growing. I got to watch the process from start to finish; from the time paddies were planted to the reaping of the harvest. Part of me hates that it’s already time for harvest. Where did summer go? Soon winter will hit with snowy force, and that means I won’t be able to ride my bike for a few months.

The changing of seasons always reminds me of ways in which I’ve changed. Life has seasons too. Some are short. Some are beautiful. Some are long. Some are difficult. No season is ever quite the same, but all seasons change us. Sometimes the change is small, hardly noticeable. Other times the change is big and undeniable.

As I stood in the middle of a field halfway harvested this evening, I reflected on how I’ve changed from this experience. One side was bare, dull and dead. Reaped of all it had to offer. The other side was gorgeous, full of life and promise. Waiting to be used to its full potential.

This has been the most difficult season of my life in Korea. I worked so hard to reach this mountaintop, but things have plateaued. I’m in the stable phase, the phase of stagnation, and I’m beginning to see everything from a different viewpoint. 

Anyone who has experienced living aboard understands there is a definite cycle to adjusting to life in another country. Many ups and downs are along the way. But, these periods of heightened emotions, intensified joys, and exaggerated frustrations make the experience so worthwhile, so life changing in the end. 

We may not fully understand how or why we've changed, until the changing of seasons forces us to stop and reflect upon the harvest. I realize where I stood in that field is where I stand at this point. I’ve used up all that has gotten me to where I am. It’s time to reap the past, and look forward to what's ahead. What was once beautiful will turn into something beautiful again.