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Well, fall is finally here. Fall is my favourite season. Some people get what’s called SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is an acute depression when summer leaves, and fall/winter comes in. I have reverse seasonal affective disorder. I get depressed when spring comes. When fall is in the air, I’m ecstatic.

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I’ve really had a lot of time to sit back and reflect. I have only about 4 months left here, which will fly by. I am feeling a lot of nervousness about leaving Korea. I feel like I did most of my growing up here. Actually, I know I did. I had to pay my first utility bills, do my own laundry, and be accountable to nobody but myself. I’ve felt the highest of highs here, as well as complete rock bottom. I know that I will return to Canada a different person. But who will that person be? Yeah that’s lame and poetic-sounding, in a super-lame way, but it’s the truth. I worry about what my family will think of the new person who walks off the plane around March 13, 2010.

I know I will come back to Korea. I plan on coming back here with my brother and his wife. I am 90% sure that I will be back in Seoul, but I’m also considering Pusan. I hear from a lot of expats there that it’s not a good place if you like to drink, but I don’t drink, so does that mean that it would be great for me?

Yeah, I'm super good looking...

Yeah, I'm super good looking...

One thing I have learned (wow if I had 오백원 for every time I said that) is that you have to be humble. I’ve seen idiots come and go here, who came here thinking they knew it all, and that Korea (and the world) owed them something. The only thing Korea, or anywhere else owes you is the experience of living on your own, taking care of yourself. It’s not that I haven’t had a lot of help from my parents and family, but the stuff I see here is ridiculous.

I learned to be passive, and less of a hothead. I learned to just chill and see what happens… well, only with certain things, of course. I learned to tolerate other people, no matter how annoying they are. I learned to sleep through people hacking up phlegm in my alley, having to use chopsticks for everything (really can’t remember the last time I used a fork), and having cross-cultural relationships, which can often lead to a lot of understanding.

One thing I will never learn though, is to stop missing my family. That’s a part of me that will never leave. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I worry about my grandmother, I worry about my mother’s worrying, I worry about my dad driving around a tin can truck all day, I worry about my little brother doing nosedives in small, single-engine airplanes in northern Ontario, I worry about my other brother’s stress with school, and the stress of putting together a wedding. I worry if I will still matter to my little cousins who I’ve been apart from for so long. I worry if my friends will still be there for me. A lot has changed with me and with them, and I wonder how that will be once I’m back.

Alright, this is getting long and kind of deep. Not really what I had in mind. Here’s a nature photograph I caught today during my break. Real, live Korean old men, in their natural habitat.

Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing. - Steve Irwin

Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing. - Steve Irwin

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