My life here is FULL and I feel like, no matter how hard I try, I never have time alone. Most of the time that’s good – I’ve never, in my life, lived a life where Ive spent so much time (willingly) with friends and colleagues. And although I grew up in a small town and graduated from a teeny tiny school, I don’t remember ever living under such a microscope. Ok, so most of the time, its great going places and knowing at least a few people there – especially being so far away from the continental US. But sometimes, it sucks. Sometimes, I want to roll out of bed and grab a coffee without running into this person and that person; sometimes I want to grab a drink with a friend and not hear from ten people the next day that I’m in a relationship (or just broke up!) with that person. I have very little privacy here and while that is ok most of the time, it can get really, really, old.
So, Korea. Never, in my life, would I ever think that of all places, Korea would be a place where I would find comfort. Never did I ever think that Korea would be a place where that weird homesick feeling that I randomly experience on Guam, would be put at ease. Oh, and the hockey thing. If you’re new to these posts or me in general, I grew up in a rink. I grew up figure skating, I grew up watching, and loving hockey. Living in Hawaii, in the south, and now in Guam – I have always felt a void. A void that is filled by a breathe of cool, crisp air. A void that is filled by stepping into a rink and breathing in the smell of freshly laid ice; the sound of a hockey stick hitting a puck, and the comfort of easing into a cold seat in the stands of your favorite rink. The void is filled by being around people who understand these feelings. It’s the community, it’s the understanding, and in this part of the world, its quite rare.
And on top of that, Mike, and the friends he has shared with me, are wonderful. Like, the best. Ever. I joke and say that he is my favorite Korean, but he really is one of my most favorite people. Ever.
Korea is a sweet escape that brings me back “home,” at a time in my life where I’m still unsure of what that means or where that is. There’s something crazy comforting about sitting in the stands with the girls watching the boys play hockey, reminding me of my 16 year old self.
While there are so many cool and different things to do in Korea, I think its pretty clear that the attractions are not why I go. The energy of the city is something I crave – I wanted so badly to walk out of my apartment, put in headphones, and walk down the street…speaking to no one, and not thinking a thing of it. In Korea, I can do that- No one knows who I am, know one knows where I am going, and no one cares. I needed that.
But this past trip I found myself being worn down by the metro and wishing I could just be at my destination; but I stopped myself. I looked around and took a minute to appreciate where I was and remind myself of how crazy it was that I was there, and not for the first time, and definitely not for the last time. It was crazy that I knew how to navigate the system, that I didn’t hesitate to jump on, and that I was surrounded by so many people who were SO different from myself.
So here’s the deal: I love Korea. I love Korea because it brings me comfort, and has reunited me with someone I care about very much, someone I respect on a higher level than most, and someone who puts me at ease by simply knowing he’s nearby.
So, no, its not the most exotic place I could visit while I am living in Guam, but, c’mon…I think I’ve made a pretty good argument for future visits.
Oh, were you expecting to read about what I did over this last trip? That’s fair. Despite being horribly sick, it was a really cool trip….so you can read about it HERE!
CHEERS, ya’ll….and go HALLA! #bigstrongmountain