Saying Goodbyes – Goodbye Korea!
Guest Author: Willynn Thompson
Saying goodbye is always hard. How do you say goodbye to people you know you will never see again? You say good-bye and hope that you do see them again soon.
I spent the weekend in Gyeonju at a beautiful Hanok village with my girlfriends. Four of my friends will be leaving Korea at the end of this month to move back to their home country. Of course I’m happy for them, but my joy is bittersweet. I’ll miss them dearly.
As a foreigner, saying goodbye happens every six months. It’s a daunting reality, but it happens regularly.
Relish at the good times and look forward to what the future has to offer.
The Beginning Phases
When I first moved to Korea I thought it would be impossible to make friends. But as the months increased I started to meet people in the least expected places. I thought I would meet the bulk of my friends at orientation.
I read a lot of blogs before leaving the States that orientation was usually the place to meet people. However, orientation kept everyone so busy by the time the day was over I just craved for sleep.
The next thing I know, orientation was over and I didn’t make any meaningful connections worth keeping. (I know that sounds harsh but it’s the truth.)
Colleagues As Friends
I thought I would meet people at school. After all that is where I would be spending the bulk of my time. Nope, it was very hard to make connections when I first arrived to Korea. My colleagues were so shy and very fearful of speaking English that our conversations were limited and connections were haphazard or non-existent.
I really started making friends at the international church that I attended with my husband. The other foreigners were welcoming and very supportive as I adjusted to Korea. We all connected instantly and soon we became friends.
This weekend as we bellowed in laughter, ate with no care in the world (because food makes us all very happy) played games like Just Dance to burn off all the calories–it dawned on me, this is our farewell, we’ll be saying goodbye soon. But until that time comes we will savor the memories that shaped our friendships from the beginning.
Once again, being flexible is the best way to survive a life abroad. It’s been one year since I moved to Korea and the many lessons on flexibility have taught me immensely. In terms of friends, I have accepted the fact that my friendships will be transitional during my life abroad.
Saying goodbye is a constant reminder of this fact. But as long as I remain positive saying goodbye won’t be so hard.
Willynn taught in the education field for three years. It was her curiosity and interest to see the world from a different perspective that lead her to Daejeon, South Korea. Willynn is currently working with young learners teaching English for EPIK in South Korea. In her free time, Willynn loves to go on adventures with her husband, Micah, engage in language exchanges at coffee shops with the locals in her community. As well as participate at Open Mic events across Daejeon and Seoul sharing her spoken word pieces. Follow Willynn on Youtube or on WordPress.