Words seldom fail me, as this blog can generally attest. When confronted with difficult situations, with environments and occurrences that muddle in my noodle and seem hard to process, I can usually sit in front of a computer, compile several hundreds of words, and suddenly things make sense. Things fall into place: disparate emotions and confusing pieces coalesce, and I can deal with things again. This is preface to say that I’ve never been so dumbstruck, so wordless to describe my feelings about re-signing for another year in Korea.
One year ago today, I landed in Korea for the first time. I’m not sure if I ever really described how I felt on that day to people, outside of my attempts to seem cool, with it, and capable. I felt terrified. I felt stupid, and remorseful, and a little sick. It was like I had spent the whole night huffing solvents and slugging back everclear, only to spend the wretched morning teetering on the edge of a cliff, over a pit filled with jagged pikes and tigers and adulthood. That this had been my first Transpacific flight, a relentless 13 hour slog through the airways trapped in brutal wakefulness, did not help. I was alone, despite being surrounded by dozens of Canadians, including one I came to Korea with. I had agreed to this. Was I insane?
When I took my recent Big Trip Home, I got an exact picture of what I was willingly abandoning all over again. The people, the place, the feeling. All the stuff that I’d come to know, over about 2 decades, as life. It seemed absurd that I would be leaving again. I was naïve the first time, leaving Toronto as a man-child, unaware of what I was really discarding. But now I knew. And I was freely, truly deciding to devote another year of my life to Korea, to being abroad?
I know there’s reasons why to come back. I know there’s reasons why I should have stayed home. But I think it would take several thousand mealy-mouthed paragraphs, meandering flights of linguistic fancy, simpering pools of phonetic and morphemic cul-de-sacs to really quantify the why and the how. To put into words what I’m feeling as I’ve agreed to another year.
The cliché goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s only true because you let a picture bring out the words in other people. They look, and consider, and put words onto it themselves, and the story gets told. Why am I staying for another year? Look.