T-Minus 41 Days Till I Leave Korea For Good

It’s coming down to the wire. I have exactly 41 days till I ascend into the powdery purgatory in the sky and take flight into the next chapter of my life.

That time I was on the cover of a magazine in South Korea.
That time I was on the cover of a magazine in South Korea.
The last day of drum (Jang-gu) class. Jang-gu is a traditional Korean drum. (from left: Program Coordinator, me and the instructor)
The last day of drum (Jang-gu) class. Jang-gu is a traditional Korean drum. (from left: Program Coordinator, me and the instructor) *Click the picture to watch a video of me drumming in action!

I am leaving Korea for good. I doubt I’ll ever be back. This three-year journey has been filled with incredible travel opportunities (I’ve traveled to more countries per year – about 3-5 – than I ever have before); I’ve gained access to some of the largest travel communities, including black travelers’ networks; and I’ve met passionate travelers who have shown me that sky’s the limit, not only with travel, but with life.

But all that didn’t come without a cost. I suffered a great deal of emotional, mental stress and alienation living in South Korea. I’ve had to adapt to a sub-culture where I was a triple minortiy: a black American 30-something living in Korea among an expat community of 20-somethings. The younger foreigners are inexperienced, a little insecure about the direction of their life, and come here to escape their reality of having to make decisions for the time being. In contrast, I’ve had over 15 years of working professionally, was self-employed as a freelance writer before moving to Korea, I am confident and proud of my life’s accomplishments, and decided to take a career break from the grind to earn some extra cash while living and traveling abroad. To say the least, it’s been a challenge… A challenge I am proud to say I overcame. I learned the valuable lesson that all I ever need is myself.

Thus, with 41 days to go, I’ve been reflective on my time here. Work, however, has been keeping me busy. It’s been nonstop for the last month! I’ve been enjoying creating fun lessons, and soaking up the time I have left with the visiting students at the center.

The PowerPoint heading for one of the English winter camps, starting next week.
The PowerPoint tittle page for one of my English winter camps, starting next week, that features my co-teachers and I. Can you guess what era of time we’re in?

In just two weeks, I’ll be on vacation for 18 days! Wow! I cannot wait! That leaves six working days, and 7 days in total that I’ll be in Korea for the month of February. Time moves slow yet swiftly. I bought boxes to ship some things home, and I’ve been making plans with friends for these last couple of weeks. It’s all very exciting.

A day of decorating cupcakes.
A day of decorating cupcakes. Spending time with friends during my last days of living in Korea.
Packing boxes for shipping things home. Sh!t just got real.
Packing boxes for shipping things home. Sh!t just got real.

But (deep breath), there’s just one thing my mind has been avoiding, and I’m not sure how to do this successfully: Where will I live once I’m back home?

I talk about my options in this video:

Do you have any advice? Have you been here before?

Help a sista out!

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6 comments

  1. Okay really.😊 I say come back home relax for a couple of months yes, no need to rush things. Stay with your mother, get a job save for an apartment. Get your life back as an American. You’ve visited Korea for 3 years yes now it’s your time to make it here. Teach your younger cousins how to succeed. Again single and free you have plenty of time to explore .
    Looking back at things it sure don’t seem like 3 whole years have past. I remember when you were leaving for korea. You’ve been missed .
    Bottom line is hurry up and make your way home , worry about the rest later.

  2. Speaking from my own experience of being homeless on more than one occasion, your best bet is option #1! I dealt with the very same emotions of not wanting to move home with parents especially since I’m “grown” and need my own space but it wasn’t so bad (I to slept on the couch at one point).I also experienced living with different family members and that was more of a hassle than option 1! Definitely don’t do option #5! Whatever you decide, just take your time and try not to overthink things. You’ve been away for 3 years so take time to spend with your Mom. Those years you were away you can never get that time back. You’re going to experience reverse culture shock when you arrive back in the US so it’s going to take some weeks to readjust. The biggest thing will be figuring out how long you plan to stay in the US and what your next career move will be but you don’t have to figure everything out overnight. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan but work out in your best interest anyway. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Hey Marica! Good to hear from you. 😉
      And thanks for your comment. You make a lot of good points. I guess I just want my ‘old life back’ when I go home, but I’m going to have to come to terms with accepting that’s not going to happen. I’m in transition, and that’s probably exactly what it will feel like.

      I do find it hilarious how everyone is like “hell to the naw” for #5 though ;P *Message received! lol
      I’m just going to have to take a deep breath for all of this. I’m really looking forward to going home, and mapping out my next destination… plan… chapter… I’ve been practicing not stressing or even thinking about it too much till I get home. But yea, my mom and I can definitely spend some quality time together… the whole reason I’m coming back home (instead to hopping of to another country) is for family anyway… *thanks again for sharing your experience & advice 😉

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