“Do you wanna come home yet?” This question comes up quite often with my loved ones. If I answered “no,” it sounds cold to those who never wanted to me to leave in the first place. If I answer “yes,” then it sounds as though I’ve had it with Korea and I’m ready to run back home with my tail tucked between my legs. I am coming up on my 3 month mark of living abroad in Korea. Oh! How time has flown.
Before coming here, I have never been anywhere long enough to truly experience the feeling of homesickness. The longest I had ever been away was a month. Instead of longing for home, I longed to stay wherever I was. When I came home, I was ready to go again in a matter of days. My situation is a bit unique, because even though I have been “gone” for nearly 3 months, I did fly home less than 5 weeks ago for my brother’s wedding. I thought that visit home would somehow miraculously offset any feelings of homesickness for another few months. Boy, was I wrong!
All the pictures and videos I post may suggest that I am having the time of my life. And indeed, I am trying my best to make the most of my new life here. But don’t be fooled by all the pretty pictures, underneath it all there is an unseen ugly side to life abroad.
It came when I least expected it. A flood of loneliness, guilt, uncertainty, and doubt washed over me as I was surrounded by thousands of drunk party goers at UMF last weekend. I was having fun, but I could NOT stop thinking about my friends and family. Here I was, at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and all I could think about was “damn, I wish they were here or I wish I was there.” I really hated myself for not being able to shake those thoughts from my head, and they only amplified as the night went on. Maybe it was the combination of glaring lights, blasting music, toxins, dehydration, and feeling like I was being swallowed up by a sea of people. It was the first time, besides all those burger cravings, that I really felt homesick.
That night, I sent out more than a dozen text messages to my loved ones back home. I needed them to know that they were missed, and that even though I’m thousands of miles away…I have not forgotten them. I have always been pretty good about keeping in touch with people, but I know that no matter how hard I try…nothing will replace actually being there. I am still trying to forgive myself for it. I knew all along that they needed me, but I never knew just how much I needed them too.
Before I left for Korea, one of my dearest friends handed me a large yellow envelope with the instructions to “OPEN WHEN YOU GET TO YOUR NEW HOME AWAY FROM HOME.” I had no idea what was in the envelope but I knew I wanted to save it for a day that I would really need a pick me up. That day has come. I very carefully peeled back the enclosure and out came what I’d like to call, an influx of rainbows and butterflies. There was an envelope labeled for every possible shitty day I could have in Korea. It came complete with inspirational notes, one to open “When you’re happy” and even a birthday card to open 9 months from now. Talk about an instant mood changer! It is the most heart-warming and thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me and I am so grateful to have a friend that knew what I would need before I knew it myself. I am still saving the each letter she gave me for the proper occasion but they are now hanging above my bed like a shrine of positivity. I was equipped with the right remedy all along! Love you, Thao! ❤
So there it is, after 3 months abroad I am homesick. I’m not ready to go home yet, and quite frankly, …I’m not sure if I’ll ever be. One thing is for sure though… home will always be a part of me wherever I go.
To anyone who’s reading from back home, I miss the shit out of you. Puhhhhh-lease Skype me! Facetime me! Kakao me! Text me now damn it!!