I hardly wrote at all this year, which is something I regret. I love to write, but as I was lost trying to navigate the dismal fog of the winter blues my love for written expression fell to the wayside. Once my sunny disposition made it’s recovery my life had become so filled with joy that along with the last of Korea’s snow my need to share melted away. It was one of the hardest and best years of my life. Winter nearly broke me, I felt defeated, like I’d lost my luster. Doggedly determined to make myself love Seoul, I forced my dragging feet through Spanish practice, salsa lessons and soccer games. Eventually the sun came out, my friendships at work grew stronger, and I joined the Rovers women’s soccer team, and with those three things I welcomed the beginning of the second best year of my life.
I am living proof that you can get through the darkest of ruts, turn it around, and transform it into something so incredible that gratitude could never thank the universe enough. I feel eternally indebted to the incredible people who’ve enriched my life, it’s been a privilege to share my life with them this year. You have opened my world.
I’ve never felt such an immense sense of happiness and gratitude. The caliber of people who have become my friends is humbling. There are not enough words to sum up the love that I feel for this entire experience, and the people I’ve come to know. I’m overwhelmed.
After already saying “goodbye” the night before, feeling the need to squeeze out the very last of my days, a few of my coworkers and I met for lunch at our favorite spot. When we were finished eating, through the last of our bantering chit chat, I felt the tears bubbling up again. In Spain I felt ready to leave, like my time had come, however this day, so badly, I didn’t want say goodbye. Sweet Miranda was particularly difficult. I wiped tears away the entire way home. Not wanting to break the dynamic duo Jon helped me drink the last of my wine and kept me company as I rolled my clothes and packed up the last of my belongings.
I feel super fortunate that I’ve met a lot of women in Korea who inspire the fuck out of me, they really make me want to be better. They make me excited, bouyant over my path. I almost feel like now I’m ruined, where do I go from here, how can I possibly top this, after Korea how can life get any better?
I’ve always struggled with the idea that I’m going against the grain. I genuinely don’t know what I’m doing with my life, there is no manual to living abroad. However I do know that I love what I’m doing, my difficult situations force me to adapt, expand, and understand. My life stretches my mind daily, so I keep going. The women I’ve met here have given me the confidence to trust that my path is righteous. They’ve shown me what it is to follow your arrow with conviction, to trust your journey and embrace the hardships, they’ve shown me that it’s okay to not follow the common path in life, you can forge your own, and that’s okay.
I’m leaving these people who I’ve formed these beautiful, complex bonds with in a country I’ll probably never live in again. We’ll never all live in the same city, work together or hang out regularly ever again. And while that’s a sad thought, I am so happy that it happened. I know we’ll still stay in touch and check in on each other’s lives, and possibly meet again one day. And for me that’s enough. I’ll make new friends and we’ll all move on and grow to love our new places. But in this moment, I feel like a small child being torn away from what it loves most. I don’t want to make new friends. I want these remarkably evolved, loving souls with whom I’ve had some of the richest relationships. Like I said before, it’s been a privilege.
To everyone in Korea, it has been an honor, thank you for sharing your lives with me.
Thank you for pushing me, for being there when I needed you, for always making me laugh, for challenging my perspective, for inspiring me to keep moving forward, and most of all lifting me up when I needed it, appreciating and loving me for who I am and giving me the confidence to keep doing what I love.
It’s so hard to say goodbye, but such is the nature of the beast in doing what we do.
And what may be the craziest part about this whole things is that I’ll actually get to see some of these people again, how crazy is that?! Friends from all corners of the world, people that I least expected to become such great friends with have turned into irreplaceable components of my life, people that have opened parts of my mind that I never explored.
And helped me recognize parts of myself that I never knew existed. And I know that I’ll see them again someday and reconnect in other unlikely parts of the world.
I remember when I first went to Spain I’d planned for a year vacation from “real life” and fully intended to return after my year was up. I used to think you couldn’t do life like this, that people who live life abroad for longer than a year were irresponsible or unrealistic. Now I see how small those thoughts were.
I feel like I’ve lived and learned more in the past two and a half years than I have in my entire lifetime, and I would be stupid to trade it for anything.
I know now that life is to be enjoyed, savored and lived with love.
I am forever changed for the better, and I will cherish these memories till the end of my days.
Life is beautiful, and I am so glad that I can see it.