As I sit here in a coffee shop in Korea.. looking back on my vacation to the Philippines, I can't help but feel at peace. I rediscovered myself in the Philippines. I hadn't lost myself per say. Well, maybe? This year in Korea was a mental challenge for me.. I went through my first semester very unhappy. I don't want to say that I regretted coming back to Korea, regret is a strong word, but I think that I was meant to move to Jeonju for a lesson more than an experience.
If you followed my blog/life while I was in Korea the first year, you know it was a bit of a .. mm .. crazy-party-circus-happy-fun-loving good time! I realize now, that it is probably a good thing that I didn't return to the same sort of life (even though that was what I was expecting). I had the best time of my life there.. but I needed to grow up a little (a LITTLE, let's not get carried away). That year was an experience. This year has been more of a lesson.
When I first moved here, I was upset about having to say goodbye to my family and friends AGAIN (when I returned from Korea, it was hello for 2 months, goodbye for 4 months as I backpacked S.America, then hello & goodbye for 2 weeks.. back to Korea), I hated teaching old grumpy university professors, I hated that I lived so far away from my school, I hated that most of my girlfriends had moved back to Jinju and I was stuck in Jeonju, I hated that Jeonju was such a horrible city (although, I've grown to love it more now.. I still hate it, I'm merely lying to myself until I escape), I hated how cliquey everyone was in this city.. I just wasn't happy.
I was good at acting happy though.. unless you were one of the unfortunate souls who truly knew me really well and talked to me often on Skype during my first few months (my parents, Maw-Maw, Ashley, Lindsay..).. you saw me cry, you saw me laugh and cry at how stupid I was, you heard me go on and ON and ON about everything that was driving me crazy. I'm so thankful for that, because living abroad has its ups and its downs.. you guys kept me sane and motivated.
For the most part I think I kept a positive attitude about it. I had to learn to tell myself that everything DOES happen for a reason. You make your life what it will be... I'm choosing to look at this past year as a time of growing. A time of making yourself happy.. choosing happiness.. finding happiness in an unfriendly city.
Early on I met a Canook who would end up being one of my bestest friends in Jeonju, Chelsea. I thank God for her.. she hated Jeonju just as much as I did and she knew how unhappy I was, no need to hide it or sugar coat. She was the first person I found (and one of the only ones in the end) that LOVES traveling, loves experiencing, enjoys discovering new parts of Korea, can get down on the dance floor and still be SO chill. We bonded immediately, she had lived in Korea for months.. being bored to tears, experiencing the same feelings of loneliness, and cursing Jeonju's name every time it was mentioned just like I did. We vented to each other, discovered friend rice and saved each other from ninjas in Japan. Our reunion is already in the making!
When I first started working at the university, I was given a desk in the office right across from two amazing ladies, Vida (Ali) & Noxema (Rehana) . Fate had us sitting across from each other so we could talk too much and plan exciting things in our lives together.. however unfortunately for the other teachers, our voices (Rehana & I's) didn't always adjust.. sometimes you would think we were screaming at each other from opposite sides of the room. And we always have to explain, it's not screaming.. it's uncontrollable excitement. We share every part of our lives together (unfortunately for Kerry, sometimes it's a bit too much.. turtle.. woopsies.. tourettes moment..), we build each other up, we support each other, we laugh and wine and dine together... I think some may call us inseparable. We encouraged each other through the Vagina Monologues and we will never ever EVER forget each other. The three of us will re-unite again, I'm 100% positive of it. These girls showed me that it IS possible to like Jeonju, the word love would push it a bit too far. They've lived here for 4 years and have never left. Well, Rehana is moving back to the states at the same time as I am.. but Ali is staying behind, being amazing and instructing away! I'm prepared for the tears to flow for hours when I leave..
Jeonju, I'm going to have to break up with you. It didn't work out, I'm sorry.. I think we just weren't a good fit together. It was you, not me.. and that's just how it's going to have to be.
I have 3 weeks left.. my soul feels elated, my mind is clear, I am open and ready for everything the universe has on offer. I'm scooping up all of the love I have received this year and keeping it in my heart forever. I'm moving home, I will get to be around my family and friends for more than a hello/goodbye session, and I am ready to figure out my future.
To conclude: WOOHOO!