Something I didn't expect when I took this job was how great of an impact the people I would meet in this funny little country would have on me. If you know me at all, you know that despite what I would want people to believe I am incredibly sentimental (perhaps to a fault sometimes) and am also really terrible with goodbyes. I don't see goodbyes as "see you later's" but really truly feel that sometimes when you see a person off, there is a good chance you won't see them ever again. Especially in circumstances such as these, where you are all caught on some peninsula together and become fast friends, only to return to the place you truly call home - never to return to the place where you met all of these different people from such different walks of life - and things never will and never should return to the way they once were. The mere notion of this strikes a deep pain in my heart and I literally feel like my heart is breaking into a million pieces when I personally encounter this particular feeling. I think Jack Kerouac summed up my thoughts and feelings on the matter perfectly in On The Road when he said "a pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a (person) I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world."
Of course I know that this job is very temporary, unless you are a Korea-phile, marry somebody here, or just decide that it is your life's work to teach mediocre English skills to hilarious young Korean children. For the most part, this is temporary. We are young and this is a stepping stone toward whatever our next great adventure (or, not so great adventure) might be. The one fact that never really crossed my mind was that the temporary nature of this job would mean encountering a lot of new people and saying a lot of goodbyes to those people once they had become special to me. I can genuinely say that some of the people I've met here are life long friends, and no matter the circumstances in life - where we are, who we become, or what we do - they'll always hold a special place in my heart. I know that some of them I will see again, and others I will probably never see again in my life. Despite good intentions and notions to meet up in the future, it just doesn't work out the way we plan and the realist in me recognizes that. That same realistic thought gives me the ultimate anxiety of sharing whatever moments I have with these people who have already become so special to me - in a mere 4 months - that I can barely think about it for long before beginning to cry to myself. Even over people who are still here, and will continue to be here for quite some time!
Last week was pretty emotional, you could say. Said goodbye to two beautiful friends I've made here that I cherish on very real levels - one was temporary and the other just felt finite. The feeling of saying goodbye and not knowing when, or if, I would ever be able to say hello again kept me up for a few nights in a row. After a week of restless nights I'd finally come to terms, as I always do (after much hassle), with the fact that some things are beautiful in their given moment and then must fade away. Relationships unfortunately fit into that mold. Not all of them, but the ones that do are special and you sometimes may not realize how special they are until you don't have them anymore. Thanks to the wonders of technology I'm sure I'll keep updated on this friends' whereabouts and what he's doing, but the fact that the friendship and connection we had here is now finished breaks my heart. Same goes for the temporary goodbye, because I know that a year from now when I'm leaving this funny little peninsula, similar feelings will ensue. I don't want to put myself through that thought process now, but I know it's imminent. And for my other friends who will be leaving before me, one in February and another in May, I will experience a similar emotional roller coaster.
Maybe it's because I'm a Pisces, maybe it's because I'm a girl, or perhaps it's just because I'm a little bit crazy, but I have the absolute worst time with this. My emotional EKG is a horrible mess, and I'm all over the place from moment to moment. Once I think I've got a grip on reality, something else bites back just to show me I'm still not in charge. Big picture: I am beyond thankful for the opportunity I've been given to meet these amazing people and share such unique experiences with them, I just wish I didn't have to let them go so soon.