8 days ago I got word that one of the people I have grown to love so dearly while in Korea is leaving sooner than I expected. I knew the end of her contract was quickly approaching but she teased me by dangling the words “I might stay one more year,” in front of me and I got super excited about the thought of getting to spend more time with her. She has spoken wisdom and truth into my life only a mother can share, she has welcomed me with open arms when I didn’t even utter a word and simply laid my head on her shoulder. She is a beautiful person and I am more than sad that soon I will have to say goodbye.
Another dear friend I have made while I’ve been here will also be leaving in a few months. She has tried to speak to me about her excitement of going to Tanzania and selfishly, I have told her I’m not ready to talk about it. Just 6 months ago, I said so many goodbye’s. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and frankly I’m not ready to start doing it again.
I came to Korea knowing it was a heavily transient community and there would be many goodbyes and honestly, it made me very guarded. I haven’t opened up to very many people, I’ve created superficial relationships with most people I’ve met because I didn’t want to let them in knowing one of us would soon be leaving. Facing the quickly approaching goodbye’s, has made me very sad. In a skype date Tuesday, I told a friend back home with only 5 months left I have no desire to make new friendships. Fortunately, Mandy knows me well enough to know when to speak truth into my life and she quickly responded with the words “I love you, I support you, but I can’t relate to you.” She reminded me that my friendships with Corine, Megan and the other wonderful people I have met so far in Korea are so unique because only the people in Korea with me can understand just how hard it is to live here.
They can relate to words that would be so cryptic to my friends back home without a lengthy back story explaining why it’s so frustrating when a child writes the words “I do ballet because I am ugly,” on a speech contest. They understand why I run and start looking at prices of plane tickets when my Korean head teacher utters the words “Don’t worry.” They know what it feels like to be pushed out of the elevator by an Ajusshi so hard you feel you are going to fall over just to politely nod your head and walk back on.
The thought of investing in new friendships can be really scary sometimes but risking your heart is so rewarding when it results in beautiful life long friendships. If I hadn’t risked my heart and opened up to Megan and Corine, I wouldn’t have been blessed with such a wonderful experience so far.
To anyone reading this who is struggling with the same feelings of not wanting to open up and make friendships, I would highly encourage you to take the lock off your heart and throw it away. Soak up every minute of time you have with the people you are in community with right now. Because although it may be temporary, you are creating bonds that go so deep and nothing can ever compare to that.
Megan and Corine, I can’t express in words how much you mean to me. This blog is for you. You will never be able to get rid of me and I want you to always remember just how special you are to me!