Part of the reason I wanted to come to South Korea for a year was a growing list of things I wanted to do and people that I wanted to see. And I was amazed at how easy it was to complete those objectives once I got here. Partly since, anything or anyone that is connected by the Seoul subway system can be reached in an hour or two of travel (that includes like 20 million people).
And although its always possible to keep moving to the next thing, I started realizing that the people and places I am returning to are more important. Although it’s hard not to just bolt to the next thing when the going gets rough. Actually, I have always imagined that getting stuck on an island with random people might produce great community (although now I remember that Lord of the Flies and Lost might beg to differ) Anyways, I think we should enjoy the literal or even quasi- ‘island’ experiences, because they can get us out of tourist mode.
There have been some great examples in my fourth month in Korea of these experiences and here are a few of them: I actually did go to an island with some of my coworkers for a weekend getaway, and suddenly a full-fledged cricket game erupted with some a bunch of Australians.
And at my church, I have been finding a family that is helping me see community in a new way. Sometimes church takes almost the whole day between bussing, the regular service at 1:30, the Bible study, and coffee afterwards, maybe dinner.
And in many of these situations, my initial reaction is, “what am I doing here?” but I’m glad I stuck around.
Come to think of it, South Korea itself is technically an island because you can’t go north and I’m under a teaching contract for a year, so I can look at the whole thing as being set on an island.