The Great Life

The Great Life

One year ago, I returned to the United States after the best month of my life. I had just finished studying abroad in South Korea. Upon my return to Nebraska, which is known as The Good Life, I declared to my parents that in one year, after I graduated college, I would move to Korea. My mother had a miniature panic attack and my father scoffed in disbelief as they welcomed me home with love, laughter, and food from my favorite Mexican restaurant.

Here I am, one year later. I am sitting on an airplane back to the place I have missed so dearly to begin a career as an ESL teacher with the EPIK program. A year ago, when I made the declaration that I would be teaching English in Korea, the concept seemed slightly far fetched. Graduating college, applying to the EPIK program, and preparing for life abroad have all presented me with many challenges. There were times when I began to think that this dream was too ridiculous, and that maybe I should just settle for The Good Life in Nebraska.

Nebraska would be comfortable. I could go to graduate school or get a decent job. I would be near the people that I love most and get to eat at that Mexican restaurant as much as I wanted. But over the last year, every time something has gotten in my way that seemed unmovable, certain opportunities have continually pushed me towards my goal.

Small, but promising signs have popped up everywhere. The more people in my life looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to live overseas, the more motivation I had to make it happen for myself. And now, after a year of constant anxiety about every single aspect of this adventure, I sit on this airplane. Achieving this goal is absolutely the most satisfying thing I have ever experienced.

I believe that in order to be truly happy, one has to find purpose. Whether that purpose is being a supportive parent, a loving partner, or an inspiring role model, every purpose is equally as important and impactful. For me, right now, my most important purpose does not exist in The Good Life. And that may change. But for right now, my purpose exists in a school in South Korea. And I know that no matter how hard it is to be away from The Good Life, that purpose will allow me to be happy and fulfilled.

Before I left for this great adventure of mine, my mother gave me a bracelet she made me. On it is a charm that said The Good Life. She told me by wearing it, I could carry a part of the Good Life with me wherever I traveled.

For me, The Good Life,  and Nebraska, hold so much. It holds my wonderful family and some great local bands and a whole lot of memories. It holds my hilarious nephew and my sweet niece. It holds the best shitty Mexican food a person can find. It holds the entirety of my support system, cheering so loud for me I can hear them from halfway across the world.

It’s not that I don’t love The Good Life. It’s that I’m searching for the Great Life. And for me, the Great Life starts with this great adventure.

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Bravery.

In case you don’t know, in less than two months I am moving to South Korea to teach English with the EPIK program. Over the last year, I have been working my booty off to make my dream of living abroad come true. As of now, I have no idea where in Korea I’ll be, what age I’ll be teaching, or when exactly I’m leaving. I just know that I have been accepted into this amazing program, I will be in South Korea, and I will begin teaching on September 1st. Though the ambiguities of this adventure are some what intimidating, I am absolutely sure this is what I’m meant to do. All I have to do is wait.

I am preparing for the biggest adventured ever experienced in my 22 years. And as I share the details of the adventure with the people around me, I continually receive the same three questions, and give the same three answers.

1. Why?

Ever since I was a small child, I have wanted to live abroad. I have wanted adventure. But it wasn’t until I was 18 that I was finally given the opportunity to travel overseas. This opportunity manifested itself as a summer in Hong Kong with a group of strangers. Though it was a drastic first experience abroad, it completely solidified to me that I would do everything I could to travel. Last summer, I was able to study abroad in Ulsan, South Korea. Along with the general craziness of study abroad life, I got to experience the amazing culture of South Korea. Through the program, I was connected to EPIK. And shortly after returning to the United States, I began the process of getting a job teaching.

2. How does your family feel about this?

My family is so incredibly supportive of this crazy dream of mine. To them, the idea of me living abroad just makes sense. Though my parents have never traveled outside of the good ol’ US of A, from the moment I declared I was moving overseas after college, they have been supportive. They may be reluctant to visit. They would probably be more comfortable having me live in the same time zone as them. But they respect my goals and are almost as excited as I am about this opportunity.

3. You’re so brave!

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told I’m brave for moving to South Korea, I’d be able to buy a lot of McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers. Perhaps to the average person, or at least to the average Nebraskan, the idea of moving abroad by yourself is scary. But to me, it isn’t. And I don’t really think it’s brave to do something that doesn’t scare me. I am a firm believer in fate. And over the past year, any time I have gotten weary of this tedious process, positive forces in my life have pushed me towards this dream of mine. To be honest, I am still amazed that this opportunity that seemed to fall into my lap. And I refuse to waste it. Starting over half way across the world doesn’t make me brave. Maybe it makes me adventurous. But what’s life without a little adventure?