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So I arrived back in Korea after three weeks in Bali. I’m going to refrain from a Bali ramble and just say that it was wonderful and you should go. That’s probably all anyone wants to hear about any holiday, anyway.

 Seoul was familiar and cold. I had nine refills of kimchi in my first meal and am starting to suspect they lace the stuff with drugs.  Back in Yangsan, life this past week has consisted of no teaching and lots of goodbyes. I fear both the re-donning of the teacher’s mantle (five days) and the new phase of life that comes after friends have left. Soul the cat is also settled into her new home and knowing rationally that this is for the best has still left my heart to adjust and my apartment feeling empty.

 People’s post-Korea plans are often exciting, usually involving new locations to travel and work. My mouth waters just talking about it, and I am at the stage now where my own future plans are in sight.

 But weeks like this, I wonder at these lifestyles we are lucky enough to be able to choose. It seems that we set ourselves up for a life of goodbyes and heartache. 

 The more I explore this world the more it opens up and entices me to explore new places. I want to open a guesthouse, somewhere tropical, and make theatre in Buenos Aires. I want to study in Colombia, write in France, dance in Brazil, climb in Oman, build houses and chase cats and live in a tree. Right now teaching seems like a pretty good means to doing those things. I want to travel, yes, but I want to live places for longer too – learn the language and buy curtains. But as that list is only scraping the surface of all I want to do, how long will I ever be able to stay in one land? And sometimes a lifetime of making homes and friends only to uproot and move to the next country seems crazy, even to me.

But as a friend pointed out, a lifetime of goodbyes is also one of hellos, and I do like hellos. So for now I think I’ll just expand my concept of ‘home’ with that pesky ‘s’ I’m always reminding my students about.


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Belén Lobos

Out of the ordinary stories in images and words Periodista independiente

Sophia Sheridan

en-route to something, somewhere, it began...

another side of the world

Teaching in Yangsan, South Korea. Travelling where the wind blows.

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