Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thoughts from Home

“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


Mica said...

Wow, I feel like I really understand what you're saying in this post. Since I'm spending so little time in Seoul, basically as a tourist, I'm already thinking about a return trip, but it is such an overwhelming city to experience twice in such a short period of time.

Like you, I'm not sure where I'm headed with my life (now that I've quit my PhD program and all), but what you're saying is really motivating for me. (I think we're similar in that we like to make plans and stick to them!) I really should use these years to do new things so that I don't look back and regret missing opportunities.

I hope your second time in Seoul is just as good as your first, but in a different way. And learning Korean will be SO rewarding. We can talk alllll about this on Thursday. I am getting some of the strangest and unfriendliest stares for being a non Korean-speaking Korean.

Julia said...

Thinking about you, Kimmie! I was wondering what day you fly out. Seriously, I'm so happy you came to visit and will miss you yet again!

Have an awesome time and know that change is hard no matter what continent you are on. I love that last quote---have a magnet with it on my fridge right now!

Love you!

Mom (J) said...

Remember - When you get the choice to sit it out or dance ....