Yesterday, I helped my best friend, Valerie, move out of her first Big Girl Apartment. Val had lived in this apartment since she graduated from college five years ago, but now she is making a big transition in her life by moving to a new city with her long-term boyfriend. After I helped Val pack up her entire life into cardboard boxes, loaded them into the Uhaul truck, and watched her drive away with tears in her eyes, I couldn’t help but think that I may be going through a similar process in just a few short months: leaving home and moving to someplace completely new and different.
I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve officially applied to teach English in Thailand. Well, what I haven’t mentioned yet is a couple of weeks ago, I also applied to teach English in South Korea. A week after I applied for the job, I had a phone interview with a recruiter that went extremely well. Now I am in the process of gathering the documents I need (transcripts, passport photos, background checks, etc.) in order to finish the application process. And if I’m offered this job, which I’ve been told is very likely, I will be moving to South Korea at the end of March for a year.
For me, moving to South Korea will not be a big transition, but a HUGE one; I’ve never lived in a city other than Sacramento before, let alone another country, so just the thought of moving so far away is triggering all of these questions in my mind: What are all of the procedures one has to do in order to prepare for such a move? What will I bring with me? What will I leave behind? Should I put all of my leftover belongings in storage, or just sell them all? And of course, along with all of these questions about physically moving, there are the questions that have arisen in regards to mentally moving: What if get homesick? What if I experience culture shock? What if I miss out on all the fun activities going on with my friends and family in Sacramento while I’m gone?
I’ve been thinking about all of these questions a lot in the past two weeks, and while I still don’t have answers to the former questions, I’ve determined some answers to the latter. A good friend of mine told me that life is too short to base it around a lot of “What if?” situations, and she’s absolutely right. Of course I’m going to get homesick, experience culture shock, and miss out on what’s going on with my friends and family in Sacramento while I’m gone. But you know what? Sacramento will always be there for me to come back to. This opportunity, on the other hand, will not.
A former dance teacher of mine would always use the expression, “Let’s just dive in the water naked!” after teaching the class a movement phrase for the first time and, instead of giving us time to practice it, making us perform the phrase full-out with music. Essentially, she used the metaphor to say, “We’re going to do something daring, and we’re not going to spend too much time thinking about it; we’re just going to do it and see what happens.” I like to think that the notion of my moving, to either South Korea or Thailand, coincides nicely with my dance teacher’s metaphor: Living in another country for a year will be my first time leaving home and moving to someplace completely new and different. I might love it and decide to stay for two years, or I might have a really hard time with such a huge transition and spend the entire year homesick. But I think the only way to find out is to just go and see what happens—to dive in the water naked. Luckily for me, I know how to swim.