Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to anyone who stumbles upon this blog post!
As the title suggests I will be leaving for South Korea in three days, February 17th, to be an English teacher for a year (maybe more) with the EPIK program. Yes, the title is long and kind of dramatic and also screams ‘really now?’ because ‘Really? You’re not prepared?’ I’ve known since the beginning of December when I got my placement e-mail that the Busan Metropolitan Office of Education had accepted my application that I would be leaving very soon. Even when I held my contract in my hands over a month later, I was thinking ‘Yeah, this is happening. Cool!’ But, now as I pack my suitcases, clean my room, begin throwing clothes I won’t be bringing into a bag to be donated, I feel my heart racing and I’m not too sure this is real. Well, actually it’s more like I know this is real, but I can’t believe it’s real.
Traveling has always been something that has brought me joy for as long as I can remember. Something I was passionate about, almost even more than my love of writing. Over the summers in my childhood I would go to Connecticut to visit people I think of as family and I remember just thinking about how great it was to be somewhere other than New York. It started with wanting to travel to different states, as I grew a bit older I wanted to travel to different countries. Traveling makes me happy. I can feel at home in places I’ve been to the first time. It’s amazing and I love that. Even the places I don’t necessarily love as much as others become very much part of me and I couldn’t imagine not having visited them. And living abroad? Well, I think I always knew that I wanted to live somewhere other than America. I first dabbled with the idea of teaching in South Korea when I was in my junior year of high school. So, I’ve had this in my mind for YEARS. In all honesty, I should be more than ready mentally.
However, I think it’s because everything seems to be happening at lightning speed and I’m walking up to the starting line right now. It’s become daunting. All my fears and concerns about living abroad and being a teacher abroad crawl into my mind at every moment possible. In addition to that I’m leaving my life here. It wasn’t much, but it’s still home. My home. My family. My friends. How do I accept that I’m leaving for an uncertain amount of time? I think as I write this I’m starting to believe that maybe I don’t. Not really. Not completely. It’s going to feel empty. It’s going to feel strange knowing that this isn’t something I can leave after a couple months like when I studied abroad a few years ago. I’ve got a job waiting for me and I’ll have responsibilities and I’ll have to learn to figure life out even though I’ve barely figured life out for myself here in America. And I’ve lived here for 22 years! I’m still excited of course. My worries in this little rant are nothing compared to the incredible feeling in my stomach and heart of being able to fulfill some lifelong dreams here! If you’re moving and you’re feeling this way as well, you’re not alone! It’s normal. Sometimes it does feel like I’m the only one freaking out and having a sort of midlife crisis, but I remember this is not any small thing. It’s huge. But it will be worth it. No matter what, it will be worth it.