Coming back was easy, the hard part was to forget.

I was asked to write about my favor experience of living in another place and then what happened when he returned for a project. This was what I wrote:

I went to Seoul, South Korea to study an exchange semester … one semester that changed into two. After living three months there I knew that the time I was going to be there  wasn’t enough and I needed more. I think life is a constant learning, and traveling is where you learn more. Living in South Korea awakened many things in me. It made me see who I was and what I wanted for myself. It made me appreciate what I already had and to change what I did not like. I decided on that country because of one thing I was sure was; I did not want to go to a place where they speak my language, or English (which I also speak). I wanted to struggle, it seemed to me very easy to go to a place where everyone understood me and viceversa. So for one reason or another South Korea turned out to be the only country that I could go with these restrictions I put to myself. I think having the opportunity to live in a place which is completely different from where you come from is an experience that opens your eyes and makes you grow. My time there was superb and when I returned to Mexico I lived in a constant wave of memories and anecdotes of a recent past. Conversations I had, streets where I walked, sunsets I appreciated. All this had a new meaning, and became stronger because I didn’t have them anymore. On one hand, I wanted to leave and go home, especially because at that time for me Koreas was not  Korea without the friends I made and also, like me, returned to their countries. But everytime I remember that place, or see pictures of her, it takes me back to that time when I was lost in buildings and in a strange language. Coming back was easy, the hard part was to forget. Even now I still have flashbacks of what it was, moments, its architecture, its festivals and the sleepless nights.

There were changes in me after Korea. One of them, the most important (for more corny that it sounds) was that I managed to know me more deeply and sincerely. I could be there and travel to their neighboring and nearby countries and discovered how strong I can be. I think that living in a place other than home brings changes to your person and allows you to be more aware of yourself and how you relate to your surroundings. You are more aware, a characteristic of maturity, I think. Now, with my family I did not suffer a big change, because since college I lived away from them. With my friends, yes I did … because leaving for a year is a year of time without them. They lived, here or elsewhere, things that I was not a participant, and they were not there either whith me and when I return most of them were recently graduates and working, so there was a separation I did not expect to find but it did not bother me, they changed but I did too. I think what I suffered the most was to have this link with people who were far away, with people who I will most likely never see again but that for a year we shared laughs and talks about dreams. When I came back, I lived two lives; the one here and the one here but with my mind there. I hung out with my Mexican friends and then I “skypped” with the others. We met again in trips and I relived, for a moment, Korea outside of Korea. Another thing that hit me hard was that I missed the food, and here I was too cheap to pay double or triple the price for it, but occasionally I go to Korean restaurants for fun and nostalgia. And sometimes, I bought my favorite dessert, which with I ate daily while I was living in distant lands.

One thing that gave me that year in that amazing country full of temples and K-pop was the awakening of a new passion … and an old one; the traveling and the writing. My life here in Mexico, thanks of to the fact that I lived in Korea and all the things I did there is now a long list of countries that I want to see. I have this anxiety to continue learning and traveling everytime I can. And I really believe that living there gave me that. This security to do so, to go and know that I’ll be fine.

korea

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