Thursday, August 21, 2008

My One Year Anniversary - Time Flies In Asia

One year in Korea...(prepare for some sappy cheesy 'life is great' stuff - you've been warned)

In a lot of ways it feels like I just got here, but in most ways I have a hard time remembering life before Korea. I'm healthier, I'm more active with outdoorsy things, I feel like I have a better perspective on life, and yet I still find myself in some sort of bar a lot of nights with close friends having good nights and bad.

Korea is a uniquely beautiful place, and I am very happy to have spent 12 months here making good money, teaching fun kids, and getting an experience very few people back home will never even begin to truly understand. I'm also very grateful to have had my best friend visit, as well as a few other unexpected guests to show around. Don't get me wrong, Koreans as a culture can be extremely frustrating, but they're also pretty generous and sweet too.

Being an ex-patriot has meant a lot to me - and not because I don't love the good ol' U S of A, but as an American it is very easy to never leave the country. Realistically a very small amount of citizens actually have their passport, and if they do, something like only 1% of those people actually use it. America's lucky in the sense that every culture in the world somehow makes its way to us. If we want great Indian/Thai/Balinese/Turkish/Italian/Mexican/whatever food, go to your nearest city and pick from any dozens of places for example. The country is also so big that you can literally escape into some remote part of it and it can be an entirely new and different lifestyle. New Yorkers for example are extremely different from those say in Boston, Seattle, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, or Denver. You can live in the beautiful state of Maine full of its gorgeous forests, or move to Arizona with its hot deserts, or go buy a house in Miami and enjoy palm trees and one of the world's best beaches.

Although as an American, while those from other countries are desperately trying to immigrate, you have the luxury to always come back to it whenever you want. There's no reason why you can't go out and see what the world has to offer. Marriage, jobs, kids, all of that stuff can wait while you go off in search of what life is like elsewhere. How can you settle down without knowing all of the information first about where to settle? Nothing is stopping you from getting married to the love of your life and settling in some place like Hong Kong. Not to mention there's never been a better time to get up and go what with the economy tanking, politics being what they are, and a never ending war.

I'm staring down the barrel of my 26th birthday having spent all of my 25th year on this planet in Korea. I've had the chance to see Seoul, Busan, small towns in Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and pretty soon Manila. I went to an excellent University, I worked for a company that was the best in the world for what it did, I had amazing friends and family. Leaving all of that behind was an easy decision to make in order to see what's on the other side of the world. What I found changed everything and also reaffirmed some things I knew about myself. I plan on going back home, but I'll go back knowing a lot more, having friends all over the globe, and a bigger appetite for whatever else life throws my way.

So even though I've extended and have a few more months left here, and this blog is more about information giving and sarcasm - consider this my one reflective post on a decision and a year that couldn't have been any better. Certain people have made that possible - I'd be kidding myself if I didn't say that those I met didn't have a significant impact on life here - and if they read this they know who they are. The traveling community are some of the best people in the world... and here's to them and Korea.

1 comment:

english said...

Ode to friends and your year-long Korean experience was nicely put.Blessings Jenn & May all your nights be full of friends & goodtimes