I guess I should be happy to realize that there's still a lot of this beautiful world for me to explore. but it's been hard realizing I have to break up with this country to do so. Actually this is the second time I'll be doing so, and I'm only now realizing the similar feelings I had the first time around. That time though, they were on my terms, I was 110% ready to say 'goodbye' or 'see you later' to Korea, but this time the feeling is different. The 'break-up' started after an actual break-up, with my boyfriend who I fell hard and fast for, I'm still not sure why or how that happened, and it's weird to admit that it did. I've always been slow to open my heart, keeping others at a distance or in the 'friend zone' I guess I was overdue for something like this. Ultimately I was left with the feeling that, as hard as I may try, I'll never completely fit here. The Korean pride that I admire so much, is also the thing that's pushing me away.
**I actually wrote this a month ago and tucked it away to see if feelings changed, but it's only continued to be an up and down roller coaster since then**
I found my groove again, enjoying time with my students and appreciating the job, friends and life I had here. Then another shock came when I met with my boss to discuss the future. I think we both knew months ago that I wouldn't be staying in Andong, but I wasn't expected this exit. Sam sprang on me that he had already recruited and offered [my] job to another teacher, fine, but the catch was this teacher would be finishing a contract in Daegu August 31, meaning Sam wanted me out early. This wouldn't have bothered me so much, and actually worked out great as I now have time to spend with a friend who's visiting and explore myself, before I leave. But our conversation left me with a bitter feeling, one I'm still trying to wash out. This is a story of it's own, and something I'm still debating writing about, but ultimately my time in Andong is coming to a quickly approaching end, and as of yesterday I have solid plans for the future (well 4 months of it anyway).
September will be spent in Korea, playing tour guide to my friend Pete, a Korean adoptee who has yet to explore his birth country before another two weeks on my own. I'll checking a few final destinations off my Korea bucket list, and spending time with friends. Then in October, thanks to some serendipitous alignment of the Universe I get to reconnect with an old friend in Hong Kong before jumping over to Myanmar to finally explore this magical land. Call me crazy but from there I'm planning another stop in Pai, Thailand so I can add another tattoo to my collection. This will be my third visit to Pai and fourth to Chiang Mai, and I cannot wait, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I found myself living there one day. From there I'll make a stop in the capital to visit an old High School friend, baring she's still there, before pit-stopping in Korea for a long weekend, en route to HOME. I fly home just in time for Thanksgiving, and submissing myself to a Wisconsin winter, I cannot wait to be with family and friends for the holidays, first time in 5 years!