During my last few weeks in Korea I’ve had ample time to reflect on my 3 years here. While the last year wasn’t quite as positive as I’d hoped it would be I can’t help but look back on my Korean experience and smile.
I learned more about myself having been here than if I’d stayed in Canada. I conquered my fears of the unknown and had a blast doing it. Living in a country where you don’t speak the same language as the locals or share the same culture can seem incredibly daunting but you know what, it’s totally doable and fantastically rewarding.
I owe a great deal to Korea. In a way Korea saved me from myself. Like many others I graduated from university and timidly looked out at my future, which resembled a foggy bleak forest path from the movie Sleepy Hollow. Long gone are the days when a university diploma led right to a well paying job, a home, a car and a family. These are the days of question marks, debt and part time jobs. In university you still believe that everything will just come to you as if a diploma is a magnet and jobs are iron filings. However that’s not really the case for the majority of graduates.
Post-university and Korea Megan is still scared, possibly more so... I suppose I'm still working on conquering my fears of the unknown! I wish I’d listened more to my parents about money, but I was too naïve and having too much fun. I wish I could make up my mind and just pick something and do it because it’s too late in life for all the flip-flopping. And I wish I’d stuck with French… you don’t realize how important that language is until you’ve passed the age when learning a new language is relatively easy!
Coming to Korea in the first place was terrifying but leaving Korea… leaving a steady full-time job… a free apartment… medical insurance and easy access to travel is the scariest thing yet. I find myself envying those with good jobs back home even if they haven’t walked on the Great Wall of China, spent quality time with a koala cradled in their arms, looked up at the magnificent Petronas Towers, crossed Shibuya crossing with hundreds of Japanese people, gazed out on the skyline of Hong Kong, swam with the fish through the reefs of Palawan, and walked the same paths as Korean kings. Funny isn’t it… I bet there are those with steady jobs back home that would envy me. Worry makes one discontent with what they have and what they’ve done. I need to master my worry and instead look back and think, geez Megan you’ve been pretty damn lucky! I guess I’ll spend the next few months wandering with my backpack, camera and worry and hopefully I’ll lose the heaviest of the 3 by the time I arrive home!