1. The foreign community, and the friends I’ve made here.
2. Late night, freshly cooked, meals.
3. Crazy bus drivers getting me home at double time when I’m tired after work.
4. People cheering me on like a celebrity when I’m working out.
5. Never feeling unsafe.
6. The variety of mouthwatering, affordable food.
7. Convenience store beers.
8. Teaching my students, and learning from them along the way.
9. Weekends spent exploring the country.
10. Everything is so cheap!
Two years ago, when my plans for a life in Korea were gradually consolidating, I felt elated about the path that my life was heading down. It was so exhilarating to be opting for a life of exploration and endless possibilities. Living abroad is generally associated with a chance to evolve and, whilst it might sound cliqued, to find yourself and this was what I was hoping for.
However, once I had settled into Korean life, the euphoria gradually dulled. It’s such a shame that we are often unable to perceive just how spectacular our life is when we’re submerged in it. With time I noticed all the amazing things that were happening to the people I knew at home; promotions and engagements, babies and mortgages. I congratulated each person and privately wondered when I would be in that position, from where I was sitting it felt like it might never happen.
Whilst I have always loved my life in Korea, there were times when I would look at the progression of my peers life back home and feel that I had been left in the dust. My return to England became daunting as I believed that I would be exactly the same person who left the country two years ago, whilst the people around me would have blossomed into lush, complex gardens. I dreaded these people coming to conclusions that I had wasted my time in Korea.
It has taken some serious meditation on this subject for me to come to terms with the fact that I have flourished just as much as my peers, but my growth is different to theirs. My life has prospered so much during my time here, admittedly not in the readily apparent ways of my friends at home, but the alterations have been magnificent in their own respect. Life abroad has taught me innumerable things about the world, the people that live in it and myself and I am grateful of that.