So here, on the other side of the world, I just turned 27! For the first time in my life I had a birthday out of South Africa, and in summer – it was amazing! A blogpost on my birthday will follow soon, don’t worry, I got you. 🙂 But today, we talk about and bask in the glory that is FOUR MONTHS that I have now been in South Korea! Where is time flying to?
Look, I have always been the kind of person who never allows anything or anyone to hold me back in life. I dance to my own little tune, and quite literally, I march to the beat of my own drum. As I told you in my very first blogpost, many people have told me how travelling changes you, but it was only when I made the decision and said “I’m going”, that I really understood what they meant. 1 July marked 4 months of me being in Korea, and I can absolutely say without a doubt, travelling does change you, and only for the better.
With me there are never hidden agendas. I never beat around the bush and I call it as I see it. Blame my parents. In that small little Knysna town they raised a straightforward, independent, often stubborn, individualistic girl and today I am so grateful to them that they raised me from a young age to believe, “a small town like this is not the place for a girl with a big personality like yours”. They may not have said it in so many words, but in every fibre of my being, I felt it. I mean I left home to go study straight after school, and have been paving my own way ever since. Of course I could never have done this without a supportive and loving family. But my parents are straightforward people who somehow always knew what was best for me when I didn’t even know what I needed. So when I decided to leave, all my mother said to me was: “Go. I will never keep your from living your dreams. Just don’t forget about God”. Thank you, parents. I owe you everything.
My first month in Korea was particularly hard for me. It was so difficult to be away from everything and everyone that I knew, and I had trouble to adjust to this different culture. It was incredibly difficult, and I make no secret of that. I went so far as to say I don’t see myself staying here for longer than a year. I feel differently now. I have a really, really good life here. As time went by, I eased into my surroundings, I became more confident and comfortable, and before I knew it I was immersing myself in what is actually, a really amazing culture. People in my town got used to seeing me around, and even though I don’t know them or their names, they make the effort to greet me and smile at me and I feel welcome every day. In fact, they would stand inside the shop where they work and when they see me walk by they make the effort to make sure I see them so that they can greet me. And every time I go out, there will always be someone asking me where I am from, or giving me a compliment (Koreans really like melanin!).
My decision to come here was no easy one. I spent years building a life for myself in South Africa, thinking that that was the life I was supposed to have. I miss my people, and I miss my country. But do not get me wrong: I am making the absolute best of my experience here. You make so many sacrifices, but what finally drove me to make this decision for me was my quest for “more”. And here I am not speaking about money or materialistic possessions. I am speaking of experience. I am speaking of a whole world out there that we only hear of, but never see – a world waiting for me. I am speaking of that liberating feeling when you, woman alone, get on that plane, and you don’t know a single person on the other side, but you know you have to survive. I am speaking of me, as a person, who had a burning desire to go see for myself what more there is in the world, and what it has to offer. I did this, and nothing and no one stood in my way. And I can tell you, my life here, is pretty damn great.
Times get tough. You miss out on birthdays, special days, and big things happen in the lives of your friends and family. Easter weekend was particularly difficult for me because I know how much my family loves to be together and eat. My dad recently had very serious heart surgery, and I couldn’t be there. These are all things that you miss out on, and it is not easy. But you try to keep yourself busy so that one way or the other you can compensate for it. And the next day, you feel better. But believe me when I say, there is no money in the world that can give you the experience of what it is like to live in a foreign country where you don’t know anyone, and you have to fend for yourself.
It is worth every moment, every sacrifice. I know with parents who support, love and pray for me, I am capable of anything. I am very much looking forward to see what God has planned for my future. 🙂
And to my faithful readers, thank YOU for following me on my journey! 🙂