Today is the day I leave South Korea and go home to California.
I wish I had a thoughtfully written, reflective post on the past year, but I don’t. I’ve been way too busy this past week and a half with working, packing, cleaning, spending time with my friends, and saying my goodbyes to sit down and write a well thought out post. So instead, before I start getting ready to leave for the airport, I’m going to note a few of the thoughts and feelings I currently have about leaving and going home:
I can’t believe it’s over already. A year is not that long. See also: time really does fly when you’re having fun.
I can’t believe I did it. A little over a year ago, I had never traveled outside the States. Now not only have I traveled to various foreign countries, I can now say I’ve lived in a foreign country for a whole year. This is an accomplishment I am very proud of.
Saying goodbye to my students was harder than I thought it would be. During my last week of work, I was showered with goodbye letters and gifts from my students, as well as requests to take pictures with them and sign their English textbooks. I comforted them when they cried and they comforted me when I cried. It was hands down the saddest goodbye of my life, because I know I’ll never see these kids again. But even though this goodbye is final, I will never forget them, because no one has ever shown me the kind of love and adoration that they have.
I have learned SO MUCH in the last year. And not just about Korea, but about teaching, traveling, the world, being in a relationship, being an adult, and independence. I feel like a completely new person with a completely new mindset. The best part about all of this new found knowledge is I acquired it because of experience.
Even though I’m sad to leave my second home, I’m excited to go back to my first. I have a lot of awesome plans ahead, and I can’t wait to start this new chapter of my life.
I’m glad I did it. There were definitely times when it was hard and I would cry because I missed home so much. I mean, this was my first time living somewhere other than Sacramento; moving to South Korea was a big leap! But even though this experience has been nothing short of challenging, I’m still so glad I made it happen. Because of my experience abroad, I’ve been able to see and do some amazing things, like visit the DMZ, participate in a temple stay, visit other countries, etc. The constant challenges pushed me more and more out of my comfort zones, which have helped me to grow as a person, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.