In the days leading up to my last night in Korea, when people asked me if I was excited to go home, I had to be honest and say no. I wasn't excited. I don't know why. It's not like I wasn't happy to see my family or friends here, but I sure wasn't excited to be leaving Korea. I had an ever-expanding group of amazing friends, a wonderful job, a great apartment—who would be excited to leave that? But I knew, somewhere deep in my gut, it was time to go. My heart said stay, but my gut, with its unknown reasons or unexplained logic, said it was time to move back to Canada and begin another adventure.
I was out for dinner with a couple of friends on my last night. Both Yonsei university students, I met them in Sinchon after their class was finished. Dinner was quiet; I had a lot going on in my head. Some last minute details were bothering me and I was trying to decide how to organize my time. We were trying to figure out our after-dinner plans—I needed to drop some things off to a friend way over in Jamsil, he had planned to meet with another friend, she wanted to hang out with the both of us—and I felt myself getting overwhelmed. I didn't want to be doing this. I didn't want to be going through last-minute things. I didn't want to be making all the decisions.
They kept asking me what I wanted to do. "It's your last night," they said. "We'll do whatever you want." He said he didn't need to meet his friend today; they could meet another time, no problem. If I wanted him to, he said, he would even take care of some last minute things I was stressed about doing. She would hang out with me and do whatever I wanted to do. "It's you last night," they repeated. "It's up to you."
It's my last night. It's my last night.
I'm leaving and I'm not coming back.
I couldn't think anymore. All I could do was put my head down, cover my face, and try to hold my tears in. My friends let me have my minute. She rubbed my shoulder a little, and he asked if I wanted to talk about it. When I said no, they didn't say another word. We headed back to his apartment—the apartment I was staying at since I had to move out of my apartment a couple weeks earlier—and hung out. Another friend came to sleep over, too, and he talked to me about leaving Korea and beginning another adventure.
"You've got an adventurous spirit," he said. "You know you can't stay in one place too long because there's too many other places you want to go. It's time to move on to the next one."
At the airport, passing through the immigration counter, I handed over my alien registration card for the last time. He looked at the dates at the back of the card and looked up at me. "Is it finished?" he asked.
I nodded. Yes it is—this adventure is, anyway. But another one is just beginning.