Usually, the New Year has little or no effect on me. I embrace it with my sloppy intoxicated arms, and wake up on the first beating off the crushing regrets of the night before. However, 2016 has snuck up on me and suddenly I can feel a vicissitude flooding over me. The New Year has tipped over the hourglass, and now it’s slowly releasing the final stretch in Korea. This cultivates a complex platter of emotions: excitement, regret, happiness and sadness.
After working almost solidly for 17 months in Korea, I’m excited to start travelling around Asia. An abundance of Koreans possess a hardworking diligence that spurs them on in their career, they work long hours and take the minimum holidays. However, I’m not programmed like that, I work so that I can live and not the other way around. I want to lie on beaches, hike mountains, explore old buildings and make some memories. The fact that I won’t hear lesson bells for six blissful months propels me into a state of ecstasy.
However, there is a burdensome feeling of regret that weighs heavy on me. I can’t believe that my time in Korea is nearly over, and I feel that I have hardly anything to show for it. Obviously, I have done many things during my time here, but each time I try to reassure myself, my mind goes blank. Perhaps I should have dragged myself out of the apartment more on Sundays, maybe I should have stayed out later and watched the seedy night life metamorphose into street cleaners and business men, but I didn’t.
One of the main things that is encouraging me to get on the road is the chance to see my family. Whilst I won’t see them for many months after leaving Korea, I am happy that I will conclude the year back home with them. By that point, I won’t have seen them in over two years, and it makes me tearful just thinking about our reunion. There is nothing quite like a Christmas with the family, and after spending two abroad I’m eager to get back to where I belong.
Nevertheless, this happiness is being gnawed at by a callous sadness. Korea is the only place (apart from my family home) that I have felt at home in. I have met so many amazing people who I have shared sensational memories with. Despite my desire to have a break from it, this has been the best job I’ve ever had. The students have never ceased to amaze me with their quirky humour and intelligence, and they have brightened up countless dark days when homesickness was dragging me down. There have been a multitude of opportunities to do things that I would never get the chance to do in England, and the fact that I will soon be relinquishing these occurrences is heartbreaking.
As my final weeks in this charming country drift away I am determined to make the most of every moment. I will grab each experience with both hands, and try to make as many memoirs as possible.