Now that I've been away from home for over a year, I can say that I'm a true ex-pat. My feet haven't touched American soil in over 17 months. At first, I was really excited to finally be living in another country. My whole life, I dreamed of the day where I could say that I lived in some far off distant land. Recently, I've started to get a little homesick.
Before we left for Korea, I was ready to go. I lived my whole life in Florida and always wanted to travel to some far off land. I spent so much of my life daydreaming about the day that I would be on a plane headed for those lands. However I think when we let our dreams and aspirations take over, we only focus on the big picture and forget the little things.
When I first arrived in Korea, it felt like coming home. It felt right. It never felt weird or awkward. It was perfect. Sure, there are days that I get annoyed because of the language barrier or because I can't eat at Chipotle, but it isn't anything I can't handle or overcome. I love living in Korea and thinking about the day that I have to leave makes me ridiculously sad.
Despite all of this, I've started to really miss parts of my old life. I still have no desire to return to Florida. That part of my life is over and has run its course. I spent 27 years there, I don't want to spend any more, but I still miss a lot of my previous life. All my dear friends and family have moved on. In the beginning, everyone was really interested in my new adventure. Now that it's been over a year, the interest has definitely lessened. Not just on their end, but on mine as well. Life definitely goes on, and just because I'm off having adventures doesn't mean that everyone's life stops and waits for my return.
As an expat, I've had to make huge sacrifices. I gave up the security of living in my own country. I gave up my home and my job. I gave up the ability to communicate in my own language. Most of all, I gave up time with my beloved family and friends. I can't even describe how many birthdays, graduations, births, and weddings I've missed in the past 17 months. At first, I understood that I would miss those milestones. Now, I'm starting to feel the loss of those memories I could've had, and I mourn the moments that I missed. Sometimes, I skip photo albums on Facebook because I feel a pinch in my heart. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true.
Despite my sadness for moments missed, I'm very thankful for the last 17 months. I feel that this has been an experience that has been vital to my growth, and I've learned so much about myself. If I was given this opportunity again, I would and will always say, "Yes." It's true that there are times where I miss aspects of where my life could've gone, but I will never ever regret the decisions that I've made.
Frame and Paper Texture/ Mellowmint
Typography/ Handwritten by me