I've been struggling ever since buying my (much too expensive) plane ticket back to D.C. last week (and booking the kitties to ride with me, of course) with the reality that I'm leaving Korea--my home for the last three years.
I know I'm making the right choice for myself and my family in returning, but I am going to miss so many things about my life here and am returning to so much uncertainty (no job, no apartment, no health care--ack!) in a poor economic climate (when I know that if I stayed one more year here I'd be grad school debt free) that I keep second guessing my decision. What's really annoying is that my brain decided to wait until AFTER I've done something pretty permanent, like buying a one-way plane ticket and a visa for my husband, to start questioning my decision. Perhaps my brain knew better than to question before, since I'm facing some pretty compelling reasons to stay here one more year--not the least of which is that I love LOVE my job and it's likely the job market for teachers in the DC area (which is a hot mess right now) will be much more favorable at this time next year.
I need to list the reasons why I want to return so that I can make it more appealing.
1. Professional development. Having completed my MA last year, I'm now at a career stand-still in my current job, even though I love it. My long term career goals require me to return to the states for at least three years and possibly pursue certification in a second or third area and I can't really do that here.
2. Family. Can't get into this on the blog, but I've been away too long. It's been a rough year for the family and while my return will initially burden them, I think after a few months and getting established, I can help them out a lot.
3. Min Gi getting to know my culture. I've lived in his for three years, and it really allows me to appreciate him in ways I don't know that I would if I hadn't lived here. I'm hoping living in America does the same for him with me.
4. Value to society. In Korea, I'm kind of a non-member of society. My contributions here, while difficult for me and important for the people I see daily, are rather insignificant and shallow compared with when I lived in the U.S.
5. Certain hobbies. I haven't been able to do theater, sew, sail, garden, bake, swim regularly, or go camping in Korea. I miss these activities immensely. (Of course, conversely... continuing TKD, skiing, and swing dance will all be much more expensive in the U.S.)
6. Going Vegan. Considering doing this. In America, it will be much easier.
7. Seeing Green. Korea is a concrete jungle. Now, yes, I know the suburban sprawl has many disadvantages, not the least of which is rendering a car an almost necessity, but there are so many pretty parks in residential areas. I love being outdoors in the U.S. It's harder to get that feeling in Korea, though I certainly have found some ways to achieve it.
8. Diversity of Food. There is just so much more choice in America. Although I plan to try to eat more locally than I did when I last lived in the U.S., I still love wandering through supermarkets in general wonder and glee. Any ingredients you need to make Korean foods are readily available in America. This is NOT true in reverse. (For that matter, diversity in other things is also a good thing about America).
9. Privacy/Space. People have a wide personal space bubble and respect it. You can have an evening drink in your own backyard--a personal piece of paradise. No one will dare touch your boobs, your hair, or your car (or if they do, you're allowed to shoot them... well... maybe not, but certainly within your rights to give them a nasty dressing-down).
10. Bathtubs. It's just not the same to take your novel to the local jjimjilbang.
Care to add yours? Please... inspire me to want to go back to the U.S. Please... I'm on the verge of cancelling my ticket and signing on for another year...