Monday, January 11, 2010


Alright - I've purposely waited to write this final post. I've been home now for 3 weeks and have had time pause, catch my breath, and really kind of figure out what's what.

I flew home on December 19th. I partied in Gangnam on Friday night with some of my favorites, walked an hour in the blistering cold to find a cab, was home at 4am, packed, and was out the door by 6am to catch the bus, and take my 930am flight. I flew to Beijing where I waited for 2 hours and soaked in my last remaining Asian moments. I hopped on a plane that was something straight out of the 1960s, complete with lack of any in-flight entertainment and cigarette ashtrays in the armrests. There were some very pleasant conversations with random people on board, and 14 hours later, I landed at JFK in New York City, literally minutes before an impending blizzard ravaged the east coast.

Sharon, Jess, and Jennette were waiting for me amongst the hundreds of people outside the door, and I only knew they were all there because I could hear their 3 voices somewhere in the crowd bickering (in a good way). We drove to Manhattan, I purchased an iPhone, partied until 4am - including bowling at the Port Authority - and finally got myself to sleep after 48 hours. I woke up on Sunday - completely exhausted.

Spent a few wonderful days in Manhattan, very wide eyed and happy to be home. Moved on upstate to be with family for Christmas and New Year's, seeing old friends, and sleeping - A LOT - because of all the jet lag and excitement.

The first week of 2010 has seen a lot of excitement and the same amount of boredom. I've settled into my house - cleaned out my room, donated tons of things to charity, and sent out dozens of emails and resumes. I've got projects to work on, a lot of writing to get done, and have settled into a great workout routine at the local gym (and struggling to stay on top of it). Things still seem new and exciting.

So far, there are only a few things I really miss about Korea... my friends, the randomness, constant entertainment, celebrity status, food, transportation, and neon lights. That was probably the first thing I've noticed actually - how dark everything is. Even in New York - EVERYTHING is that depressing orangey light. All storefront signs are dim or missing letters. Sure, it's probably more green and such to not have a thousand bright flourescent lights on every inch of space like in Asia, but it sure does keep you happy.

There are a lot of perks about being home though - for one - my mom makes me dinner everyday and I spend no money. And we're talkin', good old fashioned homemade Italian sauce and things of that nature. I can talk to anyone I want about anything because there's no communication barrier. I can go to the grocery store and be overwhelmed by all of the choices for everything, and the deli - don't even get me started on that. I can jump in my car and drive anywhere. I can go to Syracuse basketball games again. I get to be a part of my friend's lives again instead of just hearing about it.

The only negatives come from the fact of being unemployed and the uncontrollable weather (it has snowed for the past 12 straight days). Everyone's doing something exciting in Seoul, in New York City or in Denver, and I'm sitting in CNY attached to my computer looking for a job that will get me somewhere where I can have a rewarding career, money to travel, and a daily routine again. However, I have to keep in mind that this is only temporary and there are plenty of things on the horizon. The faster the better.

Coming home has been good. It's an adjustment for sure, but it's also nice knowing that chapter is closed and I'm starting a new one. One thing I know for sure, that living in Asia wasn't my last extended abroad experience, because I will live abroad again someday (soon if I can't finda job). For now - wish me luck, and if you're someone I don't know reading this - I'm only an email away for Korea/Asia related questions. I can't wait to go back and visit Seoul - that's for sure.

It was the experience of a lifetime, and I don't regret a minute of it.

PS - I'll be speaking on my time in Asia at Syracuse University's Career Center Lecture Series in the spring. I'll post once more when that gets closer.