One Year Later: Living Abroad in South Korea
This past Saturday was my one year anniversary of living in Korea, and I have been reflecting on the past year: the good, the bad, and the really good.
During my first week in Korea, I got sick, hopped on the wrong buses, felt perplexed when the clerk at the grocery store kept asking if I wanted a bongtu (meaning plastic bag), and not once regretted my decision to move here.
My decision to live in South Korea carried with it the knowledge that I would change in unexpected ways. One change has been my shifting definition of what a “home” is. I have always been drawn to visit other places, something that my friends and family do not always understand. But if they saw what I call home now, I think they would.
Home does not just mean people–that’s what family is for me. Home is a comfort and a belonging, a feeling that you are safe and happy. My home can be in many places and now that place is Korea. I have never felt so relaxed and comfortable in a place before. I can’t describe how much I love it.
Even taking the bus is still exciting to me! Any language and cultural barriers are dissolved because we are the same, we are going in the same direction, and we have similar hearts and minds. This breakdown of barriers can happen in any new place. We can find and create a positive lifestyle out of any situation.
But living abroad in South Korea brought challenges, too. I had to re-learn how to make friends, a process that took months. I struggled to find where I fit in this community of Koreans and foreigners. Now, I have found an extra family I can rely on here.
The past year has brought many challenges and changes. I was still able to attend my cousin’s wedding in the States (something I thought I would miss), I got a rabbit, and I met a boy. South Korea has definitely become a home for me this year.