A Reflection on 2015 & Beyond

By Cathy H - 9:01 AM

My time in Korea is slowly coming to an end, and I have extremely mixed feelings about everything. I have never experienced a time when I have created an completely different life for myself away from home, and have made friends to accompany me throughout this journey. And I realized, why it is so hard to say goodbye to this country. It is in the little things that have an impact on me. It's not about the grandiose trips or highlights, but rather in the day-to-day low lights that have created these bonds and memories with everyone around me. It's in the routine. It's going out to tiny eateries with friends in our small town, staying up late to play cards against humanities, trying to put something together for every single holiday despite our lack of resources abroad. It's the kindness that has been shown to me from once strangers that have become some of the best friends I could ask for. I cannot say any of this without being sentimental, because to me it is not something as simple as moving back home. It is leaving an entire life behind and going back to the life I had before. I remember the first entry I wrote when I first started teaching, talked about how adapting is a team effort with the aid of many people. From my mentor teacher that helps me prepare documents, to the lunch lady that drives me home after work, to the coordinators that have allowed me to travel around the country. And to my parents that have given me advice and financial support in the midst of all of this for every problem I have. 

I knew beforehand from going on extensive trips that it is hard to say goodbye, and dealing with the post trip blues are harder. But, how can I begin to process the effect of leaving a year's worth of friendships, travel experiences, and memories behind? The thought of literally leaving just makes me feel uneasy. I will miss my beloved Daegu city so much. I've memorized downtown like the back of my hands, from the shopping, restaurants, and weekly Korean classes with friends.  Busan, where it all began with its beaches and dog cafes. But yet, I know that it is time for me to move on. It is not a permanent life.  This year has been too good to me, too comfortable. It makes me think of coincidences and whether they exist or not. Because coming here, who knows how this year turned out? Without coming here, I would not be traveling to 5 countries within 12 months, reaching fluency in Korean, met these special people, and learned more about myself. I think I was meant to be here. For me, I get attached to the smallest things about places like riding the train, going to that weekly cafe for studying sessions, and going in school everyday to prepare for my lessons. Again, its really the little things. Nothing extravagant. I am extremely fortunate to have a good year, sometimes I wonder if I deserved this? At this point, though I know I'll become extremely nostalgic of my time here I am at the same time very grateful and ready to leave and let go. This year taught me to trust in fate, that no matter how hard I struggle and worry and think how I want my life to go- life will handle itself and will lead me the right way. It's hard to trust that everything turns out in the end, but it really does. Life has never failed to show me more and more reasons for living. And I feel very blessed for that. 

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