Community often disguises itself until we are no longer surrounded by it. Personally, I didn’t realize how much I depended on others until I took a step back and began to reflect. Three days after being home from almost a month of intense collaboration with the ACE team and I find myself missing them more than I expected. Of course, the experience as a whole was unbelievable, and I enjoyed all of it, but small moments are what I cherish most.
I loved the 4:45 am wake ups and walks to the gym with Mitch and Jake over beautiful canals in the morning dawn. I’ll never forget what the water looked like as the first glimmer of light began to shine over the ripples made by the market boats or pulling up to school watching the kids hang over the railing waving at us. Then a few moments later I would run up the stairs two at a time and high-five Lôc, Duy, or another student with a big smile on my face. They would be unsure, then see my smile and their faces would light up. Or when the whole team was piled into one room, on two beds, each night to lesson plan. We would spend ninety minutes planning what could be planned in sixty. Although I would nearly fall asleep some evenings, I loved every moment of hearing others’ ideas and laughing as individuals got punished for being late.
“Whether it is 17 fellow coaches in Vietnam, 24 teammates on the field hockey pitch or three close childhood friends, community is arguably the most meaningful part of life. The people we “do life with” share our emotions and memories. In this next school year and season, I hope to focus more on the individuals I’m doing life with and less on the actions.”
Each of these small moments I shared with people who created my ACE community. Vietnam was a rare opportunity for all of us to dive into deep relationships with one another. I may not remember the reason for each laugh or tear shared together, but I will remember how the people I met made me feel. I spent three weeks surrounded by individuals who encouraged me when I failed in the classroom, kept me grounded when I got a little too confident, and laughed at my bad dad jokes daily. All of the American and Vietnamese coaches contributed to and created this community; without one of their personalities the trip would have not been complete.
This group proved to me the importance of community. Whether it is 17 fellow coaches in Vietnam, 24 teammates on the field hockey pitch, or 3 close childhood friends, community is arguably the most meaningful part of life. The people we “do life with” share our emotions and memories. In this next school year and season, I hope to focus more on the individuals I’m doing life with and less on the actions. I’m excited to get to know my new teammates in the same way I know my ACE friends.