Saying Goodbye To Korea

To be honest, I don't think I was really ready to say goodbye to Korea. I enjoyed my time there, immensely. I already know I am going to go back some day. Whether it is for leisure or for work, I will be making my inevitable return to South Korea. Korea taught me just how vastly different two cultures can be from one another, but also how connected we are as people despite and because of these differences. I found it immensely satisfying and fascinating to overcome cultural barriers and connect with people who did not grow up like me, do not speak my language, and perceive me in ways I do not usually perceive myself. Although I worry this might be a cliche, there is something very humbling about being a visitor to another country. It is a type of humility and awareness that is hard to put a finger on. Whatever this feeling was, I think that it is my greatest take away from my interim in South Korea. I felt smaller. I felt like my life, wants, wishes, and future were smaller things. Even if sometimes I felt like I was traveling in this great big world and I am a tall, boisterous American with big dreams, goals, and plans; I often felt as if these things did not really matter. And I mean that in a good way, my problems and my pride were diminished by being a clueless and eager foreigner. In one of our discussions I touched on this topic: that traveling not only puts stamps in our passports and pinpoints on our the physical locations we have been, but it also separates the timeline of our lives into more concrete beginnings and endings. When you leave somewhere, go somewhere new and then return to your original location, you can finally see where something began and another thing ended. Going out into the world gives you the opportunity to step outside yourself. Outside your confined reality and expand it to look at it differently, in a new light, in a way you may not have considered if you had stayed put and stared at the same thing day in and day out. It is all about perspective.

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