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한국 경험에 떠오른다

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June 4, 2015 | 05:30pm
Mood: thoughtful

I'd originally intended on this being a Facebook status, but I don't want people to know that much about my life, when they could just read this journal instead. Ahaha. As if I'd let anyone I know now read this journal.

I suppose you could say my Korean experience (such as it is) is different from that of the majority of the people I know, and have known, here; I've been here for roughly 5.5 years, approaching the point where I answer the "How long have you been in Korea?" line of questioning with, "Six years," and I'm considered downright elderly, if not senile, by expat standards. Of course, Korea has changed a lot in this time, and I am more than willing to describe exactly how and why, in which ways, with bullet points and a detailed list. But the thing that has not changed in this time has been watching people come and go. People come. They teach or study or screw around for a year, or two, or maybe three, and then they leave. Some people last longer than others. Sometimes they get married, or have children, or move to another city, or some variation thereof. But eventually everyone leaves, and they go back to their home country where they inevitably get a real, grown-up job, involved in a Deep, Meaningful Relationship, buy a car and obtain a cat or a dog or three. But I have done things differently: I am still here. The majority of my adult life has been spent in Korea; the first meeting of any new person entwined with the awareness that people come and go and in the end, I will still be here. I have watched my circle of friends and acquaintances grow and recede, increase and dwindle, again and again. Saying goodbye to best friends, co-workers, and gnats on the ass of humanity can be very frustrating, sad and (at times) satisfying; but I am still here. I try my best not to regret anything in my life - what's done is done; what has happened has happened - but sometimes I find myself wondering, what about me? When will it be my turn to leave? Has my time come and gone and I missed it while I was preoccupied with work or my studies? I'm not sure and I don't know if I'll be able to identify the "right" moment even if it were to slap me in the face, but it's safe to say that I will still be here, watching more and more people leave, for some time to come. My experience of the last year - meeting so many young people from all over the world, discovering and exploring Korea for the first time, just like the dozens, hundreds I've met before them - has reinforced this in my mind.

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