The problem with getting away from blogging for a bit is that you don’t know where to begin when you start again. It almost nearly goes without saying that A LOT has happened in the past year and I am not going to bother trying to write a web-worthy synopses of it. I am back in Korea and absolutely loving it this time. Of course there are still moments of loneliness or homesickness but, unlike last time which seemed characterized by those moments, they are few, far between and short lived this time around. My circumstances are different this time but I believe that the change in my experience has more to do with changes in me than anything else. I have been doing the work to get to this place for 3 years and it is exhilarating to be seeing the results of my efforts in such obvious terms.
So the storms come and pass. 2013 started on a pretty good note. Much has changed about who I am without anything tangible actually changing. I’ve already forgotten, if only in the moment, lessons learned from the past year. I’ve learned so much more. I’ve learned to weather my own storms and sit in my discomfort knowing it will pass. I know myself more intimately and forgive myself more readily. I have recently returned from the edge of depression and , unlike previous times, I have not needed anyone to guide my way.
I am working with the concept of never being not broken (thank you Elephant Journal.) I try to remain open to the flow of change and growth from my experiences without remaining attached to a fixed identity of myself or what I think I should be.
I have been wrestling with the concept of remaining single and not looking for someone new to mend the broken heart I have been left with. I tried dating (documented alongside a friend in a ridiculous dating blog!) I very nearly fell for someone but can’t seem to find it in me to let anyone new occupy that kind of space in my heart or life. I have moved on to enjoying the commitment free time I have. I still think of him, rarely, wondering, if his refusal to return the book that meant someday, means he is still holding on to that idea…wondering when I will come home to find it waiting in my mailbox…fearing that if it doesn’t happen soon that it won’t happen until I’ve stopped thinking of him completely and the hurt that might cause. Or maybe it will happen after I move and I will never even know.
I think more and more about leaving again. There are so few places, people and things that hold my heart here now. I wrestle with developing my career here or wandering more. E is currently abroad again, I miss her being near and also the lifestyle that comes with existing in a foreign place. Being somewhere else may give me more of incentive to write more and with direction.
I am on my way to a scotch tasting now so that is new.
Sometimes it pays to look before you leap. This does not apply to bungee jumping but is definitely relevant in a number of other situations (goal for next year- improve my ability to determine when this rule applies. )
(even if he loved me first, and even if he says all the right things and makes me believe we will be together forever) Never, ever let another girl’s boyfriend in to my heart (or other places.)
I actually decide what I am going to hang on to and carry with me. Fate does not decide what I will and will not get over. I get to decide how I am going to feel each day. I decide what I am going to let influence my life. I have so much power to affect my life. who knew?
Homesickness kicks in around 3 months. Having family visit during this time exacerbates the feeling. Reaching out to friends where you are, fixes it.
Be my own best friend, partner, caregiver and strongest supporter first.
Coming home is anti-climactic;
And leaving isn’t always the best answer.
Embrace where you are, who knows when you will be there again.
There is stillness and peace in breathing- if you care enough to find it.
Working out for the sake of working out is kind of futile. Doing something I love, which is also a workout, yields amazing results.
I am more than my worst mistakes.
Sometimes, it takes everything blowing up and falling apart before you can build something new.
Working hard is not only rewarding financially, it can be an emotionally enriching experience.
I don’t have to have it all figured out. I can kind of have it figured out, I can work towards having it figured out, I can figure some stuff out. I may some day know what it is. And, I am okay with that.
It is better to be alone than it is to be with someone who makes you feel lonely.
The future isn’t something that happens one day, it is the culmination of a series of decisions and events. What I do or don’t do now is hugely relevant to what my future will or will not be.
__________________________________________________________ I have so much left to learn.
Yesterday afternoon was spent recovering from Saturday night’s shenanigans on the rooftop patio of a cafe in Janggok. I had the most sensational view over the local cafes, restaurants and shops which are largely in hanock buildings. All of this while surrounded by the mountains of Mt. Bukhansan. I sat in fear, taking in all that I could see, afraid that I would never get back there.
I sat there so afraid that I would never see that sight again, until I realized that I was there now. I stopped thinking about how this was likely going to be a one time thing for me and just embraced the view as it was. The entire scene was picture perfect and, after getting lost in it for a couple of hours, I will likely never forget it.
Besides, I can always go back next weekend.
I am falling for the city I am leaving. I don’t know if it is just because I am going soon and will shortly have all of the comforts I’ve been missing, because prospects at home seem so bleak or because I am finally seeing all of the lovely things about Seoul but I am definitely apprehensive about leaving now.
I spent last night shopping in the streets of Hongdae. It was crowded with young people dressed to party in their summer clothes on a Thursday night. I bought street fruit -thick slices of pineapple and melon on a stick for 1000 won. I bought souvenirs for friends and my mom for a fraction of what similar items would have cost at home. I found a stunning royal blue dress for my mom (for 40 000 won, the most expensive item of clothing I have purchased while here) similar to dresses at Aritzia, which start at about $100. I can’t believe that I am leaving this inexpensive shopping behind to go back to a city with clothes I can’t afford where I won’t be making enough money to even buy clothes at Korean prices! I went home around 11pm and the shops weren’t even closed yet!
I’ve spent the past two weekends in neighbouring Gangwan-do. Gangwon is home to the most incredible mountains I will likely ever see. The mountains were lush with foliage. The ridges and valleys were spectacular and beyond each mountain chain was another, as far as I could see. My friend, Kevin, took my through the mountains on his motorcycle, it was the best day I can remember. The road through the mountains follows a river bed, which during the rainy season must be full and flowing but right now is mainly rock but no less beautiful for it. If there is one indisputable reason to love Korea, this is it.
Outside of the shopping and mountains, I have come to love the incredible beauty products- BB cream and foot peels anyone? the little bits of the language I am picking up- enough to ask the women at the convenience store across the street if she was grandmother to the little boy she was holding, vegetarian Korean food, my students, the friends I have met and the amazing accessibility of it all.
There are still many reasons why I am excited to go home, friends and family, being understood everywhere I go, food I know how to purchase, living in an apartment without mouldy walls that doesn’t smell like whatever my neighbour upstairs might be doing (which this morning was, apparently, frying fish and chain smoking) and the prospect of being able to breathe without sending shooting pains through my right lung -to name a few. Alas, it is too late to change my mind and I can always come back someday. I am off to new adventures soon, in Philippines and Vietnam and then I will be home to a new adventure there. Yay!
I think I just may have learned a little lesson about perseverance, not making emotional decisions and giving things time before making judgements BUT what is done is done, it is what it is and I can definitely make the best of it.
I haven’t been writing at all lately. I start feeling crappy and then I stop writing so that I can avoid facing those feelings. The thing that I forget is, writing makes me feel good. It gives me hope and draws my attention towards positive thoughts. I gather strength to grow and examine life from writing.
When I am writing, I am also reading. I read for inspiration. I read to discover new ways to explore and discover myself. I read to find lessons on personal growth. I read that which will ultimately help me to help myself.
When I am not writing, I read fiction. I lose myself in a story. I will read entire series of books in short periods of time and even start dreaming as the characters in my book. As I am nearing the end of the 4th book in the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) books. I am realizing that I completely abandoned my journey for self discovery.
When I disappear into fiction, I stop meditating and practicing yoga. I have trouble drawing myself out of that world and into real life. It is the ultimate avoidance. I am running away from something I can’t even name. I am running from uncertainty, numbing my senses.
Last night, my mom sent me a link to a TED talk given by Brene Brown about The Power of Vulnerability. I have watched it 4 times, I feel asleep listening to it. I am feeling inspired to let myself back into my life.
Life is not about the destination, it is about the journey. The only destination in life is the journey.
It was during all of the awfulness at the beginning of last year when I first wrote those words. Having, surprisingly, never seen them before, I truly believed in this unique concept that I had developed for myself.
I had always thought of my life as moving towards “the end.” What did I want in the end, to get married, buy a house and have babies of course. I had never considered any other possibility. I had always defined myself as one half of a whole and that is how I was going to end up, with my other half, in the Glebe (I had high hopes!), raising our three children.
When I found myself broken hearted and unable to picture a future where I would love like that again I began to redefine how I saw my future. This brokenness led me to endless possibilities. I was no longer tied to a timeline, there didn’t need to be a wedding by 26 and my first baby by 28. I was free to go and do as I please. The problem then became that I had no idea what it was that I wanted. I didn’t even know what I liked at this point. The solution was found again in those words, the journey was all about finding out.
Now, when I find myself planning the trip back home, towards the next stop on my journey -to the goals I am slowly developing for myself. I can take a deep breath and remind myself that ending up somewhere is not the destination. The destination is the journey and I am already there.