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The Aftermath

I have been consistently dreading writing this for public consumption as I am certain if the Kpop stans get ahold of this I'll get videos of Twice dancing along with death threats. I will preface this by saying that if you feel the urge to fight or debate, fight or debate your mother. This is not an open forum. I am not free of the consequences of my words, but I am eternally free to ignore you.

That being said, Korea is the worst place I have ever traveled. As I have likely told many of you who have asked me in person, I would suggest going if you're white, if you're obsessed with the culture and its exports, or if you're going for 2 weeks or less.  Everyone else has been warned. I landed back in the United States on Sunday, June 30th, 2019, and approximately 206 days later, I am ready to talk about my 1 year in Korea.

The Flight Back So, I almost died. I'm starting here because this isn't really Korea's fault so much as my exhaustion because of Korea. So…

The Ant*cipation


God, the antic*pation is killing me. A few days ago, I found out my trip is not September 1st to February 13th which has been listed on the official Study Abroad office webpage (picture below) the idea of which is the only thing that has been keeping me from freaking out completely about this trip, but rather is from September to late June. This has so so many implications financially and logistically but is one of many anticipated obstacles. Luckily for those bitches, I've got a welcome mat at my door, and a vast wine selection for them to select from amidst some quiet intellectual conversation. 
Email that shaved 2.5 years off of my life this morning 

Image from my university's Study Abroad Page
    When I get back from Busan, I will be a year older and maybe if you cross your fingers for me, I will be at least a year wiser. I would have missed my mother's 60th birthday, my best friends' 21st birthdays, Christmas, my favorite holiday-Valentine's Day. I will be missing out on countless others milestones. New significant others, tears I couldn't wipe, and comfort I couldn't give because I wasn't there. I. Am. Freaking. OUT. If you think my Taurus Sun, Pisces Moon ass is ready to be that far away from my best friends or my mom, you don't know me at all.  All I could do is cry (or dry heave as it may) over the loss of this time with the life I have so carefully built for myself.





    After the loss of the time with a life I have built allows me to gain time with a life I haven't lived yet, maybe one that could bring a happiness I'm unsure if I have ever had. My coworkers, friend's parents, and strangers keep giving me their opinions on me leaving everything- most of my stuff, a well-paying job, and people I love- to be in a strange setting whose homogeneity amongst other norms will ensure that I consistently stick out. They say things like "Why not somewhere in Western Europe?" and "Aren't you worried since you don't know the language?" You know what? Outside of the innate xenophobia and racism laced in each question asked, I am petrified. Every time I think about it I feel like I'm gonna die, but then guess what?! I don't die! Every single time. I may have a natural inclination that tells me to lean away from the things that make my heart race and breathing shorten, but I want to be a person who leans into those things. The best part about being alive is that a lot of the time, we have the opportunity to exercise choice. I've spent too long allowing those big downs make choices for me that prevented me access to the highest highs or make me think I didn't have choice at all, but I do!

    So, sure, maybe I didn't have to go to a different continent alone, without knowledge of the language or culture, but I have a feeling it will do the trick.  I can try something new because I want to and for no other reason. I let the ant*cipation try and kill me, but the freedom (and the privilege do NOT get me wrong) to exercise a choice of this magnitude strengthens me in a way that keeps the ant*cipation at bay. I am protected from fear by knowing that everything in life is either a blessing or lesson. And if I die in South Korea, an idea that has been (inappropriately) suggested to me several times, at least they can say I was behind the steering wheel of this ugly lil thing we call life.

Cheers.
Myaia

Thumbnail photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

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