With American soil soon to be under my running feet, I’ve been asking myself the same question a lot lately: who will I be when I’m not what I am here, in Korea? It should come as no shock to anyone that we all have different personas for dealing with different stages of our lives; you’re never the person you were as a child, nor in high school, in university, working that first job. Some might attribute this as merely growing up, becoming more mature. To an extent, this is very true. But it doesn’t explain how we might revert to our high school personalities when encountering an old friend, and playing the role of the youngest son during holidays and family gatherings. We each have a unique identity, but one I believe is very much a part of our surroundings.
By that token, the me that left the US in 2006 was not the same me after a few months in Japan. I learned to adapt, speak a new language, eat different food, and embrace a foreign culture. I liked that me. It suited me. As much I’d like to have taken him back to Texas in 2008, he wouldn’t come. Not without bringing the entirety of Japan and its people back with him. It’s like they say: you can’t go home again. Not only has home and everything around it changed, but you no longer define yourself solely by the world that once was your family and house. Well, to follow that logic through, you can’t really go anywhere twice.
I’m not leaving Korea. I’m leaving everything I’ve known and the person I’ve become behind. That’s a scary concept.