Coming to the end of an adventure, no matter how short, always seems to provoke a period of introspection in me. The length of the period of self-reflection seems to increase in duration corresponding to the length of the journey. Basically my entire final semester of college consisted of pre-dawn mornings spent drinking coffee in my dorm room staring out the window and wondering what in God’s name I was going to do next. I spent the last two months of my time in Korea after returning from celebrating Christmas with my family in America counting the “lasts:” the selling of my possessions, the last times I would visit my favorite hang-outs, the last time I would say goodbye to kids at the English village. Just two weeks ago, the curtains closed on my most recent adventure, in rural Yunlin County, Taiwan. It was only about four months long, but it felt far longer. Continue reading
There’s an image to which I can’t help but return. It’s one I’ve written about at least twice in the past year and it continues to be something I often contemplate. It’s an image of ruins, and I’m standing in the midst of them. Even so, to say that the ruins represent my life would be a gross exaggeration and wholly inaccurate. My life is demonstrably not in ruins. Quite the contrary, in fact: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and that’s not an exaggeration. In the time that has passed since I came to this country, I’ve built a life for myself according to specifications and desires all my own and, in some ways, it feels like I’ve finally started living. The picture of ruins that often comes to mind represents life before February 25, 2013, the day when my plane first set down in the Republic of Korea, one year ago this week. When I got on the plane in Dallas, I didn’t leave behind a life I ever hope to resume and that sentiment only strengthens with time.
I have sat down to write this post no fewer than six times over the past three months. Each time, after having written three or four paragraphs, I’ve stopped to look back over what I’ve said, muttered “fuck it” in frustration, then deleted it all. Afterward, I probably closed my laptop in a huff and, finally, returned to whatever it was I was doing before I felt compelled to sit down and start writing in the first place. Part of the reason why is due to the difficulty of describing exactly how I feel at the moment. The feelings themselves aren’t beyond comprehension, but finding words to describe them in the English language is challenging. There are times when it becomes frustratingly clear that the range of human emotion is far deeper and broader than is the pool of words with which we can express them and this has been one of those occasions when I’m vexed by some of the many holes in language. My biggest hope is that something approximating how I feel will emerge from the words I write here.