Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thinking of home.

"You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you." --Frederick Buechner

Homesickness can strike you at the most surprising and unpredictable times.   Sometimes it's a conversation with a friend from home, a song you hear, or just a memory that comes out of no where and hits you in just the right (or wrong) way.  There's not always any rhyme or reason. It can happen at the times when you're most happy and content with your life.

This is what happened to me this week.  In the midst of one of the high points of my "I love Korea" periods, I had a Skype session with one of my best friends from back home.  For some reason, in no way because of anything in particular that my friend said, after we finished talking all I could think about was home. My thoughts were consumed by how much I miss my friends, and how awesome it would feel to hang out with them again. I kept thinking about all the things I left behind and how drastically different my life is now from last year.  I thought about my old classroom, my old students, and my old routine.  I thought about all the foods I miss eating and the bars I miss hanging out at.  I thought about dance and going out to brunch after class on Saturday mornings.

Although I've been saying I'm pretty sure I'll stay in Korea for another year, in my head I started thinking about my options if I decided to go home for good in August.  I started to convince myself that I could somehow be financially stable enough to move back home at the end of my contract in August, even though I don't even know where I'll begin to job search or how long it will take me to get into a teaching job again.  

It's strange how suddenly homesickness can knock you off your feet.  It doesn't come gradually, at least for me.  Instead, it sweeps me away and captures my thoughts, almost entirely. It's as abrupt and powerful as being punched in the stomach and having the wind knocked out of you.

Naturally, I know what these feelings are.  It's what every person living abroad experiences from time to time.  And it really is only from time to time.  I've in no way experienced the aggravating effects of "culture shock", but homesickness has gotten to me a number of times over these six months.

As I've said a number of occasions, the amazing experiences of living abroad come at the expense of number of things--the most difficult of which is being away from friends and family.  So, even though I spend a considerable amount of time on here talking about how awesome my life here is (and it is awesome), I hope no one at home ever thinks that it means that I miss you any less, because I don't.  I think of you all constantly, and I've spent way too much time daydreaming about how incredible and fulfilling it will be to be reunited with you all again.


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