So I’ve decided to move to South Korea. Seoul, to be precise.
When I tell my friends I’m moving to Korea, I have three common reactions:
But seriously, it’s to do an art residency in Seoul. While it will be my fourth home city (“home” being anywhere I’ve lived in for at least six months because really, it’s probably the only criterion I have left), it’s my first time to live in East Asia.
A big part of choosing South Korea among all other countries is, duh, taekwondo, which I have realized has way more impact on my creativity than I think I give it credit for. Yes, I expect training after studio hours to be the most badass there, so I have high expectations for Dojang/School #15 and Sabonim/Master #29.
I only had a few weeks to pack as much Korean in my head as I possibly could, as I don’t think taekwondo terms will help much. For future expats in Korea, check out the incredibly helpful and hilariously engaging videos of Eat Your Kimchi and SweetAndTasty, which I’ve also written about in a previous post.
And so the past two weeks were of doing what I now call The Expat Thank-You and Farewell Rounds (Part 7) of saying goodbye and having conversations with close friends and mentors. Closing another chapter through conversations, no matter how short that chapter was, is important to me, hence the lightning round of brunches, coffees, lunches, dinners, and drinks that make me question the human need of saying farewell over carbs. It’s quite sad to leave again, but I choose to look on the bright side. I am looking forward to uninterrupted time of continuing my work in a country that values tradition, skin care, and taekwondo as much as I do. Woohoo!
In the past nine years, I’ve always headed out west, and so this should be quite an adventure. Truthfully, it kind of feels like I’m going to another planet, or a parallel universe. I’m going to pretend the entire country is a dojang to minimize any untoward cultural misunderstandings. The bowing, the removal of shoes before getting in the room, shaking hands while touching your elbow—I’ve been doing this in taekwondo for the past 16 years.
It seems like only six months ago when I packed up my life and said goodbye.
Oh wait, it was.
Well, here goes nothing.
*Edit: So I’m here in my studio and they DO have bedsheets, or at least something that covers the bed. What the hey, internets.