South Korea

Why I’m Leaving Korea

May 28, 2017

It ultimately came down to feeling like I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish. I’ve grown immeasurably, I’ve made a difference in many of my students’ lives, I’ve met my biological parents, I’ve traveled, and I’ve saved money. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Coming to this conclusion was a grueling process and I’ll do you the biggest favor in the world by sparing you most of the details.

Truth is, it’s been on my mind since day one.

Am I staying more than a year? Or am I moving on at the end of my one year contract?

Rationally speaking, these options are black and white – it’s either one or the other, but I was seeing it all in gray. How am I supposed to know which one is the “right” choice? Two paths could yield completely different outcomes and you can never really know which path is going to be the better of the two. So yeah, it’s safe to say I was overwhelmed with angst.

I arrived on a two year visa (thanks to my Korean lineage), so from the start I was seriously considering staying the full two years. At the same time, two years felt like an awfully long time to be away from home.

By the time December rolled around, I had made up my mind. I was going to stay a second year. I felt fairly confident about this decision because 1) going home after a year felt premature and 2) I wasn’t ready to end my travels quite yet. My plan was to leave my quaint, rural town behind and move to one of the cities to work at a hagwon (private academy). While I was excited about this route, I wasn’t entirely convinced and I needed confirmation before setting anything in stone.

I frequently look to signs for guidance, including any messages that come through in dreams. While I was in Australia, I put it out there to the universe that I was still lost and could benefit from some guidance. And that’s exactly what I got. One night in Sydney I had an incredibly vivid dream depicting myself texting my mentor teacher and explaining to her that I had to leave Korea. The essence of the dream provided me with profound clarity, which is exactly what I needed. I woke up with an overwhelming sense of knowing that it was time for me to leave.

Leaving is not going to be easy. The end is in sight and I’ve already accepted the fact that profuse tears will be shed and emotions will be at an all time high. As the last three months fly by and time evades me, I can’t help but feel sentimental about leaving this place I’ve come to call my “home.” Before I know it, I’ll be stepping foot inside the vessel that will whisk me away from all of the people, places, and experiences that have enormously impacted and shaped me. All the while, I’ll be carried towards the greatness that lies ahead. In one word? Bittersweet.

The only thing that calms me is knowing I’ll always have the option to return. I don’t know if I would necessarily do another long-term stint here, but merely having the choice is comforting. Nevertheless, I know I’ll be back to visit someday.

Stay tuned for my next post on what’s to follow Korea!

Until next time {xo},

hippieseoul

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3 Comments

  • Reply laurie farber May 28, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Dear Danielle,
    Safe travels to the US from Korea. We have enjoyed your posts immensely.
    Love,
    The Bigeleisens

    • Reply hippieseoul May 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Laurie, it’s so great to hear from you! And I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts, I’ve really enjoyed documenting my time here. Wishing you and the family all the best and I’m sending my love!

  • Reply Lauren Melissa May 30, 2017 at 10:22 am

    You have truly accomplished so much in your short time in Korea, and if I remember one thing about you (luckily I do remember more than one), it’s that you really love your home and your family and you darling cat! I can definitely understand your choice.

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