Six months ago today, I packed my entire life into three suitcases, said goodbye to my family, and got a plane to South Korea. When I left that day, I had no idea what was in store for my new Korean life. There were a million questions left to be answered. But, as things often seem to, these last six months have been better than I ever expected. I can hardly believe it’s been that long. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
On December 31st, my winter break began. After recovering from a New Years Eve that began with eating cheesecake and ended with sleeping on the floor of a Jimjilbang, I spent the first two weeks of January teaching English camps. After finishing the English camps, I was free to use my winter vacation time however I pleased. So, I went home.
On January 16th I flew from Seoul, to Beijing, to Chicago, to Lincoln, making it in time to help celebrate my sister’s birthday. Waking up in Lincoln the next day, it was as if no time had passed. It was like nothing had changed in Nebraska, except for me. It felt like trying to put a puzzle piece somewhere it just didn’t quite fit. Being there was equal parts “Wow, I miss these people” and “Yeah, I know why I left”. My time at home was filled with good music, great food, and fun family time. But by the time I had to leave, I was ready to get back to Korean life.
Just as I had before, I packed my suitcases, said goodbye to my family, and got a plane to South Korea. But this time, I had no questions. I knew I had my cute yellow apartment to go back to. I knew I had a great school with coteachers I looked forward to seeing. I knew I had a support system of friends waiting to tell me stories of their own winter break adventures.
When I returned to school after my winter break, my After School Friend brought me a gift. He gave me a huge box of instant coffee and two giant apples. He told me that he would like to have lunch with me on every Sunday, and that to him, I was like a granddaughter. I may not have been in Nebraska, but it felt like home, and he felt like family.
On March 2nd, the new school year will begin here at Onsan Elementary School. Sometime in the next month or so, I will have to make the decision of whether or not I will stay in Korea another year. I hate to spoil the surprise, but as of now, I cannot picture myself anywhere else. That doesn’t mean I will stay in Korea forever, but right now, sitting on six months of experience here, I can already tell that a year just won’t be enough. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.