A Year in Seoul - video by Maddy

Monday, February 1, 2010

Change is Good

The constant commotion in my head has kept me from blogging for the past few weeks. Every time I sit down to write, the words have been swallowed up in a wall of static noise Ideas fly around my brain like psychotic butterflies, never stilling for a moment of rest and always eluding the net.

This flurry of thought is not, thankfully, a nervous breakdown. It's just that in the last weeks everything has changed.

For the past few months something has been off. Maybe I didn't even realize it at the time, but a disturbance had rippled through my life sending me, unmoored, into the unknown. And there, vulnerable and directionless, the restless wind which settles into my bones from time to time began to wrap itself around me once more. This is where the trouble began.

Coming back from the Philippines (a trip I've been desperate to write about and will soon) I noticed something was not right. As I sat on the airplane that would return me to my life in Korea I felt an emptiness in my chest and a dull sense of anxiety - an emotion I am not very familiar with.

For the first time, I didn't want to go back to Korea. I no longer sensed impending excitement and opportunity, only the slow rhythmic beat of routine. It was putting me to sleep, this gentle lullaby, and I realized I'd settled in deeply and was prepared to dream away my early twenties in Korea. I realized immediately this is something I don't want.

Don't get me wrong... the past year has been amazing. I would not change a single moment and still consider choosing to teach in Korea one of the most important decisions of my life. I just feel it's time to give somewhere else a try. I know instinctively that there is more out there for me to discover.

As a rule, I always go with my deepest instincts. At times, this is infuriating for people because I fluctuate wildly for a few weeks before impulsively choosing an often counter intuitive path. This method, however, has never steered me wrong. It may be ill suited for many people, but for the way I choose to live my life, I can't see any other way.

So, I started to research teaching in other areas of Asia. I threw myself into research and job applications with unceasing intensity. Then, when the noise in my head had grown the loudest, Maddy had an idea that shut it off, as abruptly as the power button on a television.

"What if you came with me to San Diego for the summer?"

There had been a million possibilities in my brain, and if you take out the obvious draw of being with Maddy all summer, San Diego was no where on my list, but something about it made sense deep down.

We carried the idea further... work a few months, live as cheaply as possible, have a short break from Asia, then find new teaching contracts at the end of August elsewhere in Asia. It felt right. More importantly, it felt exciting.

I could go on and on about my decision process, but there really is no need. When it comes down to it, after all things were considered, it just felt like what I wanted. And if there is one rule I live by, it's always to live the life that will make you the most happy, and let everything else sort itself out.

So, my new plan... here goes... I will finish teaching in Korea on February 26th. On the 27th my friend Willie and I will fly to Bangkok and meet Maddy. The three of us will travel Laos and Cambodia and return to Seoul on March 9th in time to take advantage of the free ticket home my contract offers me. Then I will fly to Boston and spend a few weeks with my family. At the beginning of April I will meet Maddy in San Diego and sort out our summer.

Living and blogging in Korea has been amazing. I still have plenty to say about it and hope to blog much more in the next few weeks. All things come to an end eventually, and for now, I'm getting ready to say goodbye to Korea.


  1. "At times, this is infuriating for people..." HAHA I almost choked on my yerba mate when I read that, though I do think I've built up a tolerance to your wildly fluctuationg plans lol

  2. Well, well, well, what will I do without you in Korea? Oh, but wait, I love San Diego. Will you continue to blog????? Say yes!

  3. oopppsss...will repeat.....thank you for the vicarious ,armchair tours and your blogs are treasures I eagerly read and re-read....your gift of writing , so heart-felt,sincere and deliciously descriptive , will be sorely missed by myself . Kiss Korea farewell and onward to more living-aliveness elsewheres.best to you and maddy. thank you again. love, Jodie C.