Of course being away in a foreign country feels lonely at times. I feel I am on my own and that it’s impossible to be welcomed when everyone’s already established their friend groups. And also I’m not super outgoing or the life of the party. But last week it seemed that people around me suddenly at the same time sensed that I needed some comforting.
First, it came from Mrs. K. She came into my classroom one evening while I had a break and paid me and once that was in order, she headed out the door and had almost left when she asked me how my life in Korea was. I gave her the simple, easy answer that Americans tend to give whenever anyone asks how they are. I told her I was fine. I added that I was still adjusting, but I like it here. That’s all true, but the real answer is much more complicated than that of course. She came back in and said she had been praying for me and hoping I was doing okay here. Knowing that Ree was leaving she also said I could eat lunch at the school if I wanted to. It was nice to hear that.
Then on Sunday, the last day Ree was here, we were heading to church when she said she felt bad we hadn’t hung out much on the weekends. On Saturdays she was always gone to hang out with her friend. I never minded this, but it was nice for her to even notice that maybe I would feel lonely.
The same day someone else, Alex, welcomes me. She is a fellow English teacher who I have hung out with before and she’s friends with both Ree and Kate from my school. After I arrived at church, we were chatting and asking each other about our weekends. When I told her I hadn’t done much, she said she was inviting me to hang out with her on the weekends from now on and we exchanged contact information. If felt really good. Exploring Korea alone is fun and all, but it’s always nice to have some travel companions especially when you’re new.
I didn’t really have many expectations when I came here. I was somewhat expecting the worst or at least thinking very realistically about how bad my situation could turn out to be. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It’s not always great each day and I definitely have some things I struggle with, but overall when I think about my circumstances I feel very lucky!