Life after Korea? So far, so strange.
I feel like I'm a character in Harry Potter...people can see my footprints on the Marauder's Map, but they can't really see me...I've 'apparated' into another world completely, and when people talk about me there I'll always be the 'last teacher that left'. Maybe my kids will mention me once in a while, but that's about it. When I tell people here that I spent a year in Korea, it sounds flimsy and awkward, like I'm bragging or something. So, I just don't feel like telling people unless I'm asked. They can't begin to fathom what that means or what it felt like, anyway. I am really starting to think that my entire year in Korea was a dream, and if it weren't for my wonderful friends that are sending me messages on FB I'd start to believe that notion entirely.
Now I find myself in Vero Beach, Florida, in a home where I recognize the things around me, yet it's still unfamiliar, in a city that I still don't know. My mom knows it, and she loves it. I love, love, LOVE that she loves it. I really think that this place is the best thing that could have happened to my parents, most especially my mom. In St. Louis, my mom was a completely different person. She rarely went out with friends, and stuck mainly to the gym and the house. Though that time brought many amazing works of art inspired by her heavily wooded environment, I just feel how much happier, lighter she is here. She has found a community of people that truly care about her and show it in their invitations and daily outpourings of love; a sense of family when her blood relations aren't around, a sense of belonging which I believe many of us hope for in life. This seems like heaven on earth to me, and I'm bursting with joy that she's finally found it.
As for me, I am still not exactly sure of what I'm feeling. This is the strangest thing I think that's ever happened to me in my life. I am not extremely happy, but I'm not unhappy at all. I'm sort of, well, content, but at the same time, restless. Weirder still, I tried to meditate this morning and nothing really came to me...it didn't feel like it had in the past. I guess it's to be expected that things will feel a little strange for a while, I think that I had just expected to be more emotional here. Actually, I expected to be pretty depressed coming back, but it's like somehow I know that it won't be long until the next adventure. The only conclusion I can come to is that I was ready to move on from Korea, ready for this time to meet myself again...and the process of getting to know myself again in this place is a little awkward.
It does make me wonder though, being here, about the direction of my life. I see the people around me, whom I love, feeling content and grounded...it's like I can see people in happy little bubbles, floating all around me. It makes me reflect on my life and think, where do I fit in all this madness? I do eventually want to get married and have a family, but I still don't know if I want to stay in one place in order to do it. I have discussed the subject of traveling with a family many times with many people. The thing is, people always make it sound as if once you have a family, you are stuck, grounded, caput. "Oh, well I wanted to travel in my 20s, but then I had a family", "Travel now while you can!", people say. I'm not sure I agree with that- I do think that traveling with a family is possible, if not slightly more haphazard. I know when you have a family you have to take everybody's feelings into account and have jobs that are conducive to that situation, but all I'm saying is, where there's a will there's a way.
I guess the question for me to answer on that count is, am I traveling to find a place where I feel like I fit in? Am I looking for MY Vero Beach? Or, am I traveling simply to experience how other cultures live? That was my original impetus. What I have learned since is that I was really traveling in order to experience myself in other cultures. I suppose that only time will tell whether or not I prefer myself in one culture over another, or if that just doesn't really matter.
The only thing that's truly been bothering me here is that I really want to start focusing on this dissertation proposal for my grad school application...but it feels so overwhelming. This project, this elephant in the room that I've been putting off for so long...it's time to confront it and work through it head on, to get a clearer view of my vision for it. I really want to focus on my goals and get some things done while I'm here. It's a gorgeous place and living on the beach and working out are excellent things to do, but I still want to have a little focus (just a little;).
Anyhow, that's it for now...come again if you dare. :)