I move my cursor to the top right of my screen…”write“, it says. I click on it as it’s too enticing not to.
It’s Sunday and for the first time in months, I haven’t got any work to do. It’s weird. I love my job. I am writer. It sounds so lovely to say even lovelier to say out loud. I work seven days a week. I told myself today would be all about reading poetry and relaxing, but in all honesty—I am so fucking bored.
I did read poetry, dark poetry—Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Her poetry is so simple, like anyone could have written it. But at the same time, it has an effect on me. Her words don’t need to be deciphered, twisted, and analysed like the long and strange poetry we were forced to read in high school. They’re straightforward, and true. Perhaps that is why they have an effect on me… that and her brave account of how badly men have treated her.
I’m home in South Africa for now, and I have almost no stress at all. It’s weird. I sit beside the ocean and write. I hear the stillness of the night, I breathe fresh air, I feel the sun on my skin. I feel reality. It’s now my business to know what everyone is getting up to in their lives—and while I couldn’t really care, it’s sometimes nice.
These are my thoughts as the day—and week—come to a close.
Have a happy week, everyone.
So many new thoughts have entered my overactive mind in the last few weeks. While I love my adventurous side (and still have a dozen more countries that I would like to see), I have this need to settle down. No, I don’t necessarily mean having kids, getting married, buying a house and investing in things. I mean, I want to find a place that I can call home. This has been all too difficult for the past few years because I’ve had to move apartments, countries and cities every 2-4 months for work or because of a lease that has ended. It’s left me somewhat bitter in that I have to pack up everything I own once again and try to make a new place “homey”. So once again, it’s been a total of 6 weeks in this new place and I have to move out. Just lovely.
When I heard the news 3 weeks ago, I frantically searched real estate websites in Barcelona and even went as far as looking at places in Cape Town and Berlin. I also thought perhaps I’d do a month-long travel through Europe. But moving cities and moving countries means yet again getting used to the area, learning the language and so on and so forth. While that is exciting, I am just not in the place right now.
I’ve been living in Barcelona now for 5 months… and I love it. I am quite sure that I am not convincing myself that I love it because I don’t feel like making a big move. When I think back on the places I have lived throughout my adult life, none feel like home… besides Barcelona. Just my luck though, that places available for March are either utterly shit or too expensive. So, in an attempt to get my ducks in a row, I’ve bought a return ticket to go home for 2 months. In this time, I hope to save my money, come back in May and get a one bedroom place. There’s just one problem with all of this…
Having broken away from life in my home country, people move on – much as the same as I have too. They’re different, I am different. And suddenly, I get the feeling as though they really couldn’t care less that I am coming home. Family and friends probably see me as a burden as I need to crash at their place and rely on them (or public transport) to get around. I hate been reverted back to the state where I rely on others. I’ve recently learned that this is the reason why I love living in a different country. I don’t want nor need the help of others. Additionally, I realised that I don’t really have any one in this entire world that gives a fuck where I am or what I am doing. Sad, but sort of freeing.
So while I will only be spending two months at home, it almost feels wrong. It feels like I’ve bought a one-way ticket to a place where I am “the baby” again, asking for help. I really should be excited but I’m just not.
For 22 years, I drifted my way through life. I rarely felt passion, I acted carelessly and I gave myself away too freely. What did it matter, though? I didn’t need to do anything substantial because I was constantly being taken care of by people in my life. My parents paid for everything, my friends took care of me when I was too drunk to get home and I didn’t have my first job until I finished university. Life was a mere spectacle. People loved my stories of how I ended up in dangerous situations and I loved telling them. I have always lived for adventure – the destructive kind.
I spent five years studying a degree I didn’t care about – little did I know, that it was this degree that would land in me in places I had only dreamed of. I ended up spending four years in Korea, teaching English, meeting locals and other foreigners, experiencing things that I thought were fascinating yet strange at the same time. I knew I had to take advantage of this situation, I knew that I was destined for more than a scandalous story.
I booked tickets to countries that excited me as often as I could. One such time, I ended up on Boracay Island in the Philippines on a solo trip. My hotel room overlooked the sky-blue ocean, great palm trees and the sun beamed into the full-length windows like rays of happiness. My bed was decorated with my favourite flower – the frangipani. Regardless of the abundance of geckos and lizards (my worst fear), I breathed in life. I talked with the locals who taught me about humility. I learned about the island in all its beauty that was jaded by social issues. The people were poor, but they were happy.
I visited a piercing and tattoo parlour on the beach and decided I would get my first tattoo – an outline of Africa on my back. It’s not big and it’s not magnificent but it is meaningful. After all those years I spent trudging through a boring and predictable life, here I was in the middle of nowhere, by myself, with a permanent symbol on my back that reminds me of who I was, who I am and where I come from. Africa will always be home.
No matter where I go (and I plan to go everywhere), Africa will always have my heart because now, I am in a place where I can truly love and admire the beauty of my home country, the inspiring people that encouraged me to live my best life and the astounding diversity that makes this world spectacular. I no longer crave destructive adventure – just, adventure.
I’ve set up shop, once again, in South Korea. I landed a few days ago and am still jet lagged but extremely grateful for my experience at home as well as feeling super optimistic about the year ahead.
I am back in my old time, Icheon. This is where I grew into the person I am today. Admittedly, it started off on a rough note at the beginning of 2012, but half a year later – I’d experienced a whole lot more of life and with some deep introspection and love for myself, I turned the experience into one of the best of my life. I am happy to be here. It is a small town with some beautiful parks. I have the most amazing apartment and my school seems nice.
I arrived back in Korea 5/6kg lighter than when I left 3 months ago. The airplane seatbelt felt looser and that was great. For the first time since 2012, I am not basing my emotions on my weight and my eating. I am feeling confident and happy in my skin and of course, would love to eat better and continue to lose weight. It’s been so freeing to deal with life without the added hatred of my body.
My visit home made me so much stronger. I really engulfed the value of family and the friends that I know will be with me for life. I was in my place, I had my people and I was surrounded by beauty. Before leaving South Africa, I took a walk on the beach alone after having a final breakfast with my mom. I said a prayer out loud, because there was no one around. I thanked the Lord for my wonderful experience at home and asked him to bless me during my upcoming year back in Korea. I asked Him to make me more aware of the beauty in Korea, even though it is a different kind of beauty to South Africa. The truth is, there is beauty anywhere – it’s just how you perceive it. My closing thoughts were that – coming back to Korea was MY choice. Even though I was utterly bleak to return, I knew that it was what I chose to do.
I think the Lord will bless me this year coupled with the fact that I need to stay positive and see the best in the world.
In one week, I leave for South Korea again. I write with a heavy heart. I want to avoid the thought at all costs. I’m finding it so hard to articulate how I feel. I think it’s hard for those important to me, to understand how meaningful my words are. That, I was barely living for almost my entire life and that, everything changed while in Korea. I finally give a shit about… everything. I love my family, I love my friends, I love everything that surrounds me in my beautiful city, the mountains, clouds, blue sky, birds, stars, rain. everything. These things meant nothing to me before. Spending time with my family was sometimes a chore.
At the end of the day, my philosophy while being home, has been to be as kind as I can. That giving is the most important thing. I want to thank the people that give me life, make me happy and do so much for me. Having 3 blissful months of happiness has been elating. I forgot how it felt. I spent a year being miserable. I fear my misery will return in Korea. But, I hope my new attitude follows me, instead. I know life will change, once again.
I realised that everyone has taken their own path in life. Whether it’s marriage, travel, studying or something else. When I left my friends last night (my farewell dinner), I never thought that ~I~ would be the friend that was brave enough to see the world. I always felt so inferior at home, as if I wasn’t capable of doing anything by myself. For that moment, I felt proud of myself.