I’m halfway through my time here.
I feel very guilty to say this, but I have to be honest–Korea isn’t somewhere I really want to live for the rest of my life.
Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophesy. I didn’t say this to anyone, but I was really scared of falling in love with another place I knew I would leave without a return date.
I shouldn’t have worried.
Starting off, the thing I was looking forward to the most was speaking Korean, and my Korean skills now are worse than they were in the USA. That’s kind of bad. Furthermore, Korean culture continues to baffle me, and I can’t say that I’ve grown to appreciate its nuances quite yet. I’ve outgrown my K-pop phase, and now I find the new stuff somewhat annoying. I was also looking forward to commuting on the legendary subway, but it turns out that 9 lines with an average of more than 3 exits per station and multiple transfer points is just too intense.
The food hasn’t stolen my heart–Korean food comes in three flavors: bland, too salty, and too spicy. And there’s no range and depth to the spice, either–it’s all the same kind of chili sauce. I consider myself a non-picky eater, but there aren’t a lot of dishes that I’m really going to miss.
I’m also quite pressured these days with filling out ridiculous stacks of bureaucratic paperwork, sending emails back and forth with the home uni for coordinating my last year. I’m really not sure what’s going on at this point, I’m SUPER TERRIFIED that something’s going to go wrong, that I’ll miss a step and have to go back to California to finish after I worked WAY TOO HARD to make this happen. Yeah, I’m really lucky to have this opportunity, but it did come with a price tag. Just saying. Having this almost constantly on my mind, as well as the whole postgrad planning is incredibly burdensome.
Korea has been frustrating, disappointing, and stressful.
Still, I know I’m going to miss Korea. Not due to Korea itself, but because I made friends. I don’t know what’s worse, to be lonely or to have to part ways and know you might not ever meet again. I feel more included here than I ever have anywhere else, I already miss trabajar en conjunto and gotong royong.
I changed rooms, and I really like my new roommate. She’s super funny and dramatic and I can say exactly what I’m thinking with her. We talk a lot, and laugh hard and often. I will miss her a lot. I really like my computer science professor, too. He does not endlessly repeat himself. He responds to my emails almost always within 24 hours. I’ll miss him. I will miss my church here, too.
“Parting with friends is sadness. A place is only a place.”–Frank Herbert
So, I’ll savor my last couple of months here with these people.
And very much hope I will meet them again somewhere else!