Paradox-Leaving Home to Go Home

I had never experienced “home sweet home” as heavily as I did when I boarded the Hawaiian Airlines plane. I could already feel the aloha as 3 passengers tried to help me with my carry-on bags. It sounds lame, but when you spend two years in a country where no one bothers holding doors for others, you too would acknowledge the smallest act of courtesy. I felt pure bliss and couldn’t stop myself from grinning.

I’m going home.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll disregard everything that happened in Busan. Although two years is a small portion of my life, my short career as an EPIK teacher has done a lot for me.

While there are a lot of factors that made my experience memorable, I’d like to dedicate this post solely to the people I met in Korea.

Looking back, I’m surprised at how many friends I made in Busan. There are so many of you, and it’s hard to believe that I arrived two years ago not knowing a single native.

You were unreliable and trustworthy.
You made me question my efforts and wished I had done more.
I disliked you and fell for you.
I went out and wished I stayed home, and I stayed home and wished I went out.

The paradoxes kept me at a safe distance. We were from different countries and states, and sooner rather than later, we would scatter. I didn’t want to get too close but at the same time, I wanted to get closer. And I think that paradox was the most difficult to deal with.

In the end, it was inevitable. We got closer and closer until you shaped Busan into my second home. It wasn’t the beaches, the food, the coin singing rooms, or the beautiful sights; it was you.

I was lucky to be surrounded with unforgettable people. For some of you, I didn’t realize the warmth until we separated. The only regret in leaving was not being able to spend more time while we were together.

It isn’t just a handful of people, there are a lot of you. Each of you are very distinguishable. We’re unique and different in our own ways, yet, we blended well. I don’t know what made us compatible, but I’m glad we had our weird chemistry, and without you all, my social life might have been a disaster.

Thank you for being there for me, and I’m sorry I wasn’t always there for you. Hopefully the next time we meet, I won’t always be on my phone.