Let me preface this post by saying this – it’s been about 20 days since I’ve returned to Korea from America, and I am still exhausted. Between a combination of jet lag, returning to work, and being incredibly allergic to Yellow Dust (Current events lesson – this crap comes FROM China all the way here and makes the air around us unbearable. Never in my life have I gone through so many tissue boxes, coughed up my right lung, cursed at the state of the air, etc.), and friends visiting us, my blog hasn’t received much attention. Now that I am sitting here with a cup of tea to my left, a Woodwick candle to my right, and my husband working the night shift this evening…I am finally able to process my experiences from my trip back home.
Three words – it was needed.
It’s safe to say that I haven’t felt like myself lately. Spending the holiday season without our family & friends, surviving a bitter cold winter that put my already introvert self on hyper active mode, and saying goodbye to best friends made here – it sucked. It still sucks, A LOT. I didn’t see it coming. It’s how the military lifestyle goes – you move here, attempt to settle, miss important life-things, and once you finally get a grip on reality it’s time to move again. When you live abroad it’s a wild experience. The adventure, always fantastic and keeps you on your toes, puts you in a strange sense of reality. It’s like living in an alternate universe, especially experiencing the transition of Eastern and Western cultures. You forget life is moving on without you back home (USA). You don’t realize how much you have changed or grown until you revisit your roots.
We landed in Dallas at the same time we left Korea – 6:36pm on February 9th – and continued on to Wichita shortly after. The following day was my 27th birthday, filled with Lebanese food, hugs from family, and of course…jet lag. We quickly adjusted to the usual side effects, and then the insanity began. Catching up with friends, snuggles and walks with the family dog, adoring blue, non-Yellow dusted skies, visiting our favorite restaurants and bars, relaxing in our favorite spaces. It was rejuvenating and hectic all at the same time. Reuniting with loved ones after a long time away is a memory I won’t forget.
A pivotal experience was my quick trip up to Lawrence, Kansas to meet up with a friend and see a Kansas Jayhawks basketball game (Rock Chalk). It had been years since I had visited my old stomping grounds, and even longer since I had been to a basketball game. If you aren’t familiar with Kansas, basketball is kinda our thing. It IS our thing. But I digress.
Something clicked in Lawrence. Be it the magic of the city itself, the beautiful 70 degree weather, the atmosphere of a college campus – interests melding, futures forming, deadlines to make and goals to reach. I met with an old professor who grilled me with questions on South Korea and my future – noting that if I wanted to return to KU to pursue my higher education in History, there would always be a place for me at KU, or a strong recommendation letter to elsewhere. Cue my “AH HA!” moment. Academia is the area where I thrive, and suddenly it made sense why I can’t stand 8-5 office jobs or boring desk work. It dawned on me why the jobs I held in the past made me miserable. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was the missing piece to this difficult puzzle that I couldn’t solve. So if you are reading this, Professor Lewis, many thanks for that slight push in the right direction.
Short cheesy motivational paragraph that I wish someone told me 3-4 years ago: If you want to go back to school, GO. Don’t let society tell you that your interests are worthless. Don’t let them make you feel like it’s a waste of time or money. If there’s a will, there’s a way. BAM.
I returned to Korea and my little family feeling refreshed and anxious to take on the next steps. When I am not busy teaching 5 year olds or playing Zelda on my new Nintendo Switch (proud nerd alert), I am teaching myself French (Parce que je peux!), GRE vocab words, and math that I haven’t seen since 8th grade. Pray for me.
Spring is blooming here now – soon the cherry blossoms will open and show me a side of Asia I haven’t seen yet. One (hopefully) full of promise, hope, and new beginnings. While it was strange to come back to my house in a foreign country, I was returning home to my husband, cats, friends, my job, and my overall life back in Songtan. My home.
Kisses & Kimchi,