I’ve been here in South Korea for two months now, and it feels like the time has both flown and crawled by. I was quite homesick the first few weeks I was here. I’m not sure that ‘homesick’ is quite the right word, but I was a bit overwhelmed. I remember when I got off the plane and on a bus to Dongtan we were driving on the highway and I thought, “What the hell were you thinking? Why on earth would you move to South Korea by yourself? What makes you think that you can do this?” But that was fear talking, and I knew that in order to survive and thrive I would have to push those negative, fearful thoughts aside and see what this life brings. And let me tell you, I thank God Almighty for getting me out of my own way.
For the first few weeks I clung to the comfort of my own apartment, almost scared to leave. I talked to my parents at least twice a day on Skype, which really helped keep my sanity, and they kept reminding me that it was good and brave for me to do this. I’m not used to feeling scared or nervous about traveling and living somewhere completely different than the Midwest, but scared I was; however, as per usual in my life, I am now surrounded and blessed with amazing people whom I am happy to call friends. Every expat here knows and remembers the feeling of getting to this foreign land, broke, unsure of what the hell they were doing, but were quickly swept up in a loving group of people who showed them the ropes; and I have been no exception to that. So far I’ve attended people’s going away parties, welcome back parties, birthday parties… and I didn’t know any of them to begin with – they were just friends of friends, but quickly made a friend out of me.
After a few all-nighters in Seoul (which is easy to do because the bars don’t close and the busses stop running at midnight and don’t start back up until six a.m.) and the ‘classic’ experiences (such as puking in your purse and then ruining your camera), I feel as if I have been initiated into this life properly. Haha. However, not every weekend will be hectic like those, but I have found them necessary because through those experiences I’ve met great people and now have a collection of some great stories – and I’ve only been here for two months.
This Christmas Eve I had a quiet night with some girlfriends eating dinner at a beautiful Chinese restaurant and then watched the new Harry Potter. I stayed up talking with a friend until about 6:30 a.m., and then went to bed for a few hours until I took her and her roommate to the bus stop where it would take them to the airport and they would be on their way to Singapore and Malaysia for our winter break. As much as I would have loved for them to stay here in Dongtan, it’s good that I have the week to myself. Time to reflect and just be silent. Christmas day I opened my presents that my family had sent and I felt so blessed and loved. I called a few people, and then took a much needed nap. I believe that my body recognizes that I haven’t gotten proper sleep in a while because I’ve been creating such great relationships, so on Christmas day after the presents and after talking to my loves, I crashed. Woke up a while later, and then crashed again. Yesterday I laid around in my bed puttering around, then was in bed by 8:45 p.m. Today I grabbed lunch with a friend and came back to the apartment where I don’t plan on leaving. This is such a beautiful, much needed vacation, and the only thing I feel like doing today is sitting on my bed listening to music, reading a girly magazine or book, doing a little crocheting, playing online, doing some writing… whatever I feel like. The perfect space right now is on my bed next to my gigantic window watching the gray clouds sail past and a few snowflakes float by.
I’m starting to see more and more of why Korea was calling me – basically forcing me to come here. I feel inspired. I feel creative. I feel good, I feel myself growing and exploring new aspects of my life that I didn’t necessarily realize needed exploring.
I wish you all peace and happiness this Christmas season and well-wishings for a new year and new beginnings.