I don't feel like I have been here in South Korea close to a year, and yet when I think about it, I really have. Korea has shown me a lot of things and opened my eyes to a lot of other things. I have seen good, bad, boring, exciting, and all the stuff in between all of that since I have been here. I have seen big cities and lived in a tiny town. I can't say I have not experienced Korea in it's most raw form. That is, I have lived outside of Seoul where life is simply just life. No glitz or glamour about it. If ever I wanted to get an authentic taste of Korean culture, I think this year has provided that to me far more than I think I was even ready for.
That being said, when I look back on my year, I feel like it was a really quick roller coaster ride. At the top, the beginning, the pinnacle of my stay, I was looking down at the drop like it was a long way off. My time here seemed like it was going to go on forever. I was excited and scared at the same time. Now, at the bottom of that roller coaster ride, I am looking back at it realizing it went too fast and wanting to do it all over again.
I am looking back at my year and asking myself, "What have I really seen? Did I accomplish all I wanted to? Have I seen it all?" To that I must honestly answer, "No." It is a little naive to think that you can come to a country and completely experience all the culture has to offer in one year. It would be naive to think that you could experience it all in ten or more years. But I am wondering if I have done all that I can.
I think I can say that I have. I have experienced a lot since I have been here. Stuff I do not like and stuff I absolutely love. There is so much to this country and culture to be seen, and some stuff that foreigners like myself will never be able to see from sheer subtlety. I think that is true for any country. I can say I have made the most of my stay here, but I wish I had more time to see and do more.
Soon I will be leaving Korea. I do have the option of staying longer, but life is taking me in another direction for now. Will this direction lead to a permanent path? Yes, I think all directions do, but will I stay on this same path? Absolutely not, I am not one to walk in one direction too long. I have a goal in mind and leaving Korea is taking me one step closer towards that goal, no matter how much it pains me to do it.
Who knows though, perhaps all roads lead back to Korea for me. Perhaps they don't. My life is rarely ever defined in absolutes.
Anyways that's just ranting I guess. I have had fun in Korea and learned a lot. I will be leaving soon but before then I will try to do my best to make the most of what time I have left here.