“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home
and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
Today will be our last day in the US for awhile, and for me, it's tougher to leave this time than last. My time here has been pretty much perfect... I held and hugged my friends' babies, celebrated a friend of over 20 years' wedding, reluctantly celebrated my 29th birthday, had many truly enjoyable meals with parents, and spent a ridiculous amount of time snuggling with our dog. I really couldn't have asked for more. And I can't believe the time went as quickly as it did.
I won't go so far as to say I'm regretting our decision to return to Korea, but I've found myself needing to remind myself quite a few times just why we're leaving again. I know once I get back into bustling Seoul and spend some time with my birth family, our decision will be instantly validated... it's just a little tough to remember those reasons right now.
But really, as much as I feel apprehensive about returning to Seoul and sad to leave St. Louis behind, I think my biggest issue is not knowing what lies ahead. I had kind of forgotten how comfortable I am with the city and the people most important to me. I've always had a hard time with change and I have a strong feeling that this stay in Seoul is going to be different from our first time around.
Aside from switching roles from teacher to student, I think the general focus of this trip will shift a little. The first time I was kind of experiencing the culture as a true foreigner... teaching at a hagwon, speaking tons of English, and hanging out in western bars and restaurants. This time I hope to meet and get to know more Koreans (most importantly my birth family). Of course, learning the language will be pivotal in this.
So here's to the next phase of our lives. Hopefully it is as (if not more) rewarding than our first Korean stay. I'd like to end with a little quote I read to myself when I start getting nervous about what the future holds and if I'm up for it.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain