Well, I moved to Korea.
Yes, as in Seoul, South Korea. Four months ago I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to everyone I’ve ever known, and hopped on a plane with a one-way ticket and a one-year contract to teach English to children in Gangnam.
I’m at that stage in expat life where things have ceased being exotic and romantic and completely exciting all of the time. I have a full-time job. I have a long-ass commute. I have to go to the grocery store and clean hair out of the drain in my bathroom.
Seoul in the summertime is hot and humid, and it rains all of the time. I mean allllllll of the time. I can probably count on one hand the number of times the sun has shined since the turn of the month. Monsoon season means grey skies, sudden downpours, fog, and humidity that physically weighs on you. I guess you could say my relationship with Korea is out of the honeymoon stage.
That initial stage is immensely fun, true enough. It’s filled with lots of peace-sign pictures, new and weird foods, bizarre language barrier confusions, and fascinating places to explore. But now I’m feeling that familiar itch to buy a plane ticket and discover somewhere new, somewhere with a different language, different architecture, different climate. It will be a growing experience for me to stay put for a while yet.
My struggle will be to maintain this sense of adventure when it isn’t all new for me anymore. It’s easy to be enamored with a place where everything is different and all of your senses are alive and overwhelmed. Can I stay in love with a place, even when it’s hot and rainy, even when my heart is broken and my life is quiet, even when I have a daily grind?