I’ve written and rewritten, my blog post on Korea, and I never bothered to post it. I wonder why? Maybe I never came to terms with leaving the place where I spent the best 6 months of my life? And did I make the right choice?
Since August, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to move to Korea to teach English.
We had a month of orientation, making new friends and being treated like we were going to summer camp. Food, activities, our life all planned out for us. The second month (after the orientation) when we were really living on our own, was scary. My apartment was not the newest, or the cleanest, or the safest? Korean bathrooms are known to be mold-infested, which could easily grow behind the lumpy wallpaper of my studio apartment. I met my students, my school, my mentor, my co-workers.
Fast forward to 5 months. I’ve fallen in love with freedom. I’ve never been away from family for so long. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back, pick up where I left off, make my way back to reality. I’d done so much. I’d visited many parts of Korea, experienced their food, their culture, the people, the language… There was a sense of pride of what I’d been able to do on my own. It’s not easy to be able to fully take credit a lot of the time.
I’d still had so much to do, all the cafés that I wished I’d had time to go to, all the festivals that would be happening in the summer. I’d miss my school, my students, and the friends I’d made from around the world that I’d met in Korea.
But here I am, back home, now with a regular school schedule, and work. It’s nice… after 2 months of coming home, I think I’ve finally accepted my place once again as a student, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. But it definitely feels like more responsibility has been added than compared to when I was in Korea, where I was a teacher, friend, and traveller.
In some ways, it almost feels like I haven’t left. In class, I see familiar faces. I can’t say I’m not excited about learning again. Not having to worry about mold or air pollution is a plus. I take the bus, I see my friends, not much has changed. But the feeling of freedom and independence has.
I can no longer stay out till 3 am, without needing to tell someone. No sleepovers. And lots of questions, that I never had to answer in Korea, where I had more of a “do-as-I-please” attitude.
I don’t regret it though. Coming back. Instead, I’ve turned the “missed” independence and freedom into something I REALLY, REALLY look forward to. When I move out, when I graduate, when I can get back to that “do-as-I-please” lifestyle. I’m glad I came back so I could move forward towards these things.
As they say, home (bitter)sweet home.