Traveling for Love: What You Should Know
Well, it’s not that I HATED, South Korea, it was just that I had reached my time limit. I arrived in South Korea October 2014 brimming with excitement and oozing for the thrill of adventure. My suitcase was filled with flash cards and American candy to give the 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 had my fill of the culture and needed a change. I was tired of the Kimichi I was once excited to try. I was 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 had traveled to Guam just to be able to eat real hamburgers, felt at home in Kuala Lumpur because the rich multicultural environment, and travelled 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, I choose not to renew. I stayed a month after it expired with a friend to collect my pension and plot next moves. I got rid of everything; business cards, directions to my favorite restaurants, spare change. I was never going back, right?
Well, now here I am. I am sitting in the same apartment I was in a month after my contract ended in 2017 . . . in South in Korea. I made sure I packed my journals and other things I knew I would to keep me comfortable here. My suitcase wasn’t filled with teaching materials this time. No sweets for Korean children eager to get high off American sugar. Instead, my packing list consisted of some clothing and shoes, an empty journal and a planner, sazon, and a bag of black beans- his favorite. Employment opportunities drove me to South Korea the first time. This time love does. One of the biggest things I learned from this experience was to never say never, because if you would have asked me as I was packing to leave Korea if I would ever come back, I would have laughed and said, “NO!”