I never miss anyone – and yet, I already do.

I feel it is only fitting to start this blog with an ending. It was after all, an ending that brought me here.

“Here” being the South of South Korea – Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea – where, as of last week, I am employed as an ESL teacher.

My new city, Suncheon, from the top of “Bamboo Mountain”

“…an ending that brought me here” refers to the end of a budding career as a Computational Chemist.

That story, is not the story I wish to tell.

It’s a rather contrived, boring tale of a girl who lost her way, kept going anyway, came to her senses and became, not lost, but free, ready for an adventure, and a god damned job! However, I must acknowledge, that it is the story that catalysed today’s tale. That, were it not for the experience and maturity I have gained over the past few years as a scientist, partner, and friend, I would never have seized the courage required to admit that I was not ready to settle.

In the true spirit of adventure, I’m sitting in my new home, already missing someone. Her name is Ashleigh. My replace-ee. A South African girl, ready to move back home to study after 18 months in Suncheon. I was lucky enough to spend my first week here eagerly following her tail. The kindness she has given, the laughter she has taken, and the memories she has created, have left me wanting so much more.

We have eaten our weight in Korean cuisine; taught the same “scary story” almost twice everyday yet still giggled when our students jump at us turning out the lights; we have let ourselves be blinged at a nail salon; exchanged possessions (by which I mean I bought all her stuff and am very grateful for it); shopped till we dropped; and partied like it was December 31, 1999.

Ashleigh and I at her (academy) going away party.

I am not one to miss people. I keep myself busy and I converse with my closest friends and family using the wonder that is technology fairly regularly when I am away. Or at least that’s my excuse. I think the real reason I struggle to miss others, is that I know that I will see them again. It isn’t really goodbye. There is no point wasting the time and energy it takes to miss someone, when you could be living a tale to tell later.

Yet, with Ashleigh leaving, there is an odd element of shock hanging over me. Her kindness has eased the burden of culture shock, only to create a new brand of surprise. I’m sure I will see her again, yet it may not be for a very long time when many of my stories are forgotten (maybe not, now that I’ve dived into the blogging world, hehe). I know it’s crazy, but I can’t help but have this odd pain in my chest when I realise that I can’t just knock on the door across from mine to ask for a spoon; I have to go to my own drawer for that one now.  It’s a shock I’m going to have to get used to. I will also be leaving eventually, and many more will leave before me. It’s a reality check I knew was coming, I just wasn’t expecting it so soon. For now, I will let myself soak it all in, with a promise that I will buck up in the morning.

I hope this isn’t giving all of you back home the impression that I am struggling, because the reality is absolutely the opposite. I’ve settled in tremendously! My students are ridiculously intelligent, and even more so, ridiculously cute. The staff carefully balance fun and hard work. I’m eating well and sleeping well. My apartment is ideally sized and could definitely fit an extra mattress (*wink wink nudge nudge*). I’ve met expats and will be going out with them again this Saturday. Autumn is still pretending to exist, even though the first snow of the season has already swept by. ‘Nough said really! (I’ll expand in the next few days)

I’m having a blast!

It may now be the end of this brilliant adventure,

with a dear friend I certainly will treasure (sorry, couldn’t help it)…

but what an ending to have, at the start of something SO NEW!

Getting our nails done – Korea Style!

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