Ah yes, another blog post from a distant friend of yours in a distant country. Goodie.
Good news, I’m returning to the States for at least a little while, so this may be the last post you see from me for a while. Until your friend’s niece, Jessica, decides to travel across the globe, too. Sorry, it’s contagious.
In all seriousness, I’ve just about finished my year in Korea. Actually, it may be a few weeks over a year at this point. It’s funny how time works like that. I’m on the cusp of coming home, and starting yet another chapter in my life.
If you couldn’t tell from some of my previous posts, I feel very connected to music, and lyrics. Just before I left the states I would listen to Lorde’s Pure Heroine pretty often on my commute home from work. Now, as I start packing for my trip to Japan, I find myself listening to “Yellow Flicker Beat,” and “Buzzcut Season” all over again.
And I’ll never go home again. Place the call, feel it start.
Music can act as bookends, sometimes. Korea has given me so much, but it wasn’t perfect. I started this as a personal mission to finish a year in Korea with as few mess ups as possible. I finally wanted to set the past aside, and do something that didn’t cause me anxiety and depression. So I flew across the world.
It was so easy; it still is. I never experienced culture shock, and I got really lucky in the school in which I was placed. However, the most important part of the adventure was the people.
I found them everywhere. At work: some people came and left so quickly, and yet we became so close. Outside of work: I snagged a few people from mutual friends, and some were just chance encounters with a lot of effort to maintain the friendship. Being abroad and the fear of being alone really forces people to put work into relationships. I struggle with the fact that more of my close friends remain in this city then back in my hometown. I guess great minds think alike, and we all ran away from home.
And nothing’s wrong but nothing’s true. I live in a hologram with you.
So, why am I leaving? Why aren’t I staying for another year? I don’t have your answer. There isn’t anything pressing happening back home to which I need to return. In fact, (don’t look at me), I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get home. I know this, I did it! I actually went through a year and didn’t feel the overwhelming anxiety I expected. I definitely didn’t feel the rush to fly home at the drop of a hat.
It feels great to hit that goal and in the end, Korea is not where I see my future. It doesn’t feel real enough for me. Some people have roots here, and some expats even have careers. People tell me, “Oh you’re so young! You can do whatever you want!” and it’s true. So, I’m leaving to do whatever I want, it’s just not in Seoul.
Where all the things we do for fun.
But it’s been wild. I set out to see the country and I did. I held so much regret for not exploring Ireland more when I lived there. In twelve months I’ve learned how to ski, (and learned how to fall down, hard), ice fish, and play Settlers of Catan. I’ve hiked in this country more than in any other time in my life, which is fair because damn this country has mountains. I walked across the sea! Like Moses! I made green tea, I went to amusement parks for a record four times this year. I ate fresh octopus, and I even saw Weezer live!
And I breathe and it goes. Play along. Make believe, it’s hyper real.
Korea has been so good to me, but I need more. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll figure it out soon enough.
I remember commenting to some friends back home how normal Korea feels. I always felt surprised when people suggested that moving to Korea was any sort of adventure. The reason why it feels so mundane to me is because I’m surrounded by like-minded people. We were all ready for a change, and to be around people who feel the same yearning as us.
I also remember thinking that this year would look wasted on my resume. I know that’s not true anymore. You don’t get through twenty-six classes of children without gaining some skills. Or even at least learning your own value within a team.
But I live in a hologram with you.
The chapters in my life feel singular. Just a year long, or even less. When will the additional pages of my life start to feel plot heavy? When will something build so that I’m surprised that the chapter ends at all?