Step 1: Speak What You Won't Do Into Existence So the Universe Can Laugh.
After Travel Noir wrote an article on how my husband and I met each other, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on how things came full circle. By now, many of you all know that this isn't my first time in South Korea. I first arrived in October 2014, brimming with excitement and oozing for the thrill of adventure. My suitcase was filled with flashcards and American candy to give students I’d be teaching. My mind open to all the new cultural differences I’d encounter, and my stomach grumbling for the food I’d soon try.
By the time I left South Korea in December of 2017, I told myself that I would never come back. I had my fill of the culture and needed a change. I was tired of the Kimichi I was once excited to try, tired of the trains not working past 12 a.m, and the uniformity of clothing, hairstyles, and makeup of everyday people. During my stay those 3 years, I traveled to Guam just to be able to eat real hamburgers. I felt at home in Kuala Lumpur because the rich multicultural environment reminded me of New York. Then, went and traveled to Saipan because it was the closest I could get to an area of predominately English speakers without traveling to America. I missed diversity.
If I taught English again, It wouldn’t be in Asia- I would need a taste of something else. So when my contract was due to expire at the end of 2017 I chose not to renew. I stayed a month after it expired with a friend in Daegu to collect my pension and plot next moves. I got rid of everything- spare change, directions to my favorite restaurants, and salsa spots. I was never going back, right? Wrong.
Step 2: Don't Fight the Universe, Melt into it
It is November of 2019- exactly 2 years after I left. I’m reading one of my old journals where I'm complaining about South Korea. The irony is that I'm revisiting this journal in the same place I was whining about. It is interesting to me how the passing of time can affect one's original sentiments about a place . . . or how loud the universe can be heard laughing sometimes (see step 1).
This time around, my suitcase wasn't filled with teaching materials. No sweets for Korean children eager to get high off American sugar. Instead, my packing list consisted of some clothing, shoes, an empty journal and a planner, adobo, sazon, and a bag of black beans- his favorite.
After leaving his apartment in Daegu that chilly day in November to head back to America we realized some things: that that should be the last time one of us should be leaving the other. Thus here I am, melting into him in a place I thought I'd never return.
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