With every choice we make in life comes a certain number of sacrifices. Sometimes we are giving up very little and the decision is very easy. But, sometimes we are giving up a lot and it makes those decisions so much more difficult. Sometimes, to get your own life in order, you have to be willing to give up (or postpone) other things that may be of nearly equal importance. Ideally, a good decision is about making the best possible choices with the information provided to you at that moment. Now, I’ve made an awful lot of bad choices in my twenties (you’re lying if you say you haven’t) but as they say… Sometimes the bad decisions make the best memories. And I agree. I have the best memories.
Editor’s Note: This blog is not intended to be a rant, more just observations about living in another country.
Yes, I will agree that if you look through our facebook pages and blogs that it appears that we are all having the time of our lives over here. Around every corner is a new food to try, a new friend to make, and most importantly, a new adventure to jump head first in to. Yes, as most of our friends and family observe, our lives are pretty much the best they’ve ever been here. Here in this amazing country which greets each of us with a huge smile and an enthusiatic “Hello! How are you? I’m fine, thank you!”, without ever giving us the chance to respond with anything but sweet laughter. South Korea is a very happy place for many of us Western runaways. But that doesn’t mean it’s not without sacrifice.
We miss weddings and funerals. We miss births and christenings of nieces and nephews. We miss birthdays, graduations, and bridal showers of family and best friends. We miss out on a lot living here and we are very conscious of each these things, whether you at home see that or not. It often hurts us as much that we can’t be there, as it hurts you that we aren’t there. Sometimes more even. It’s also true that we are missing out on your lives just as much as you are missing out on ours right now. But that could probably be blamed on us for moving so far away in the first place.
Now, I’m not complaining because each of us made the conscious decision to move here for our own reasons and on our own accord. None of us were forced into coming here. My decision wasn’t even really a decision. It was an obvious answer to my situation at the time. I wanted to teach but Florida wouldn’t let me. I was at a place in my life where it made sense to pick up and move somewhere that would. And it made more sense to do it somewhere that would (for all intents and purposes) pay my relocation expenses as well. Once I knew that the wiener dog was welcome, it really wasn’t a question.
However, the length of my stay here is, and always has been, in question. I miss my family. A lot. I hate that I am missing out on their lives. I want to be closer (emotionally and geographically) to my sisters. That’s a bit difficult from SoKo. We each have so much going on in our lives right now and I want to be there for that. I also miss having a real job. A job that actually requires me to use my brain. I miss my friends. You know who you are. I miss being able to take Charlie out without being yelled at or given dirty looks. I miss dating. Oh God, did I really just say that? I miss normal life. I crave it now actually. And while I have one of the best apartments in the city, I am so over apartment living. I want a house. With a yard for the boys. And my own furniture and dishes and decorating. Those are all sacrifices that I make by living here.
There are people here that are lifers. They’ve been here 10, 15, sometimes 20+ years and life here works for them very well. Some have found love here either with another foreigner or a Korean companion and have decided to make their life here. I have known all along that I am not one of those people. Three years has always been my max but I can feel that window shrinking now.
I have made a nice little home here. Charles and I made the decision to expand our little family with the addition of the poodle. I enjoy my job and am extremely over paid. I have been able to save/pay off a considerable amount in my 21 months here so far. And, my job adores me as well. I’ve also made wonderful friends here. I have a very comfortable existence but Korea is not real life for me. That being said, it’s a bit frightening to abandon that ship without knowing where I’m going to land. Where do I move to? What jobs do I look for? Is the economy even ready for me yet? I fully believe in doing what you have to do to make stuff happen, but is trading in being excessively over-paid and comfortable to earn $8 a hour temping somewhere and struggling to pay bills really the best option?
It’s time again to make decisions, weighing both options AND sacrifices. I need a crystal ball.