I’m writing this because a lot of people have been asking if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.
To be honest, I feel very much as if I have.
Almost 6 months ago, I left Korea. I left a steady job. I left children I’d taught for nearly 4 years, some of whom I’d come to love as if they were my own. I left surroundings that were familiar and safe. I left a wide circle of friends. I left a good salary and a comfortable life. I left a place where I finally felt like I was part of a community.
No, I’m really asking. Why?!
I write this from a flat even smaller than the one I had in Korea, and much less modern. I get up before 6am every day, and spend the majority of my time not teaching (which I still love), but travelling blearily and wearily from one school to another. I’m permanently exhausted, and find it hard to stay awake past dinner time – which means going out and making friends has been at the bottom of my list of priorities, under “sleep, times a million”. Of course, the knock-on effect of that is isolation, which brings loneliness, which leads to introspection, regret, self-pity, and general misery.
I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss my job. I miss my free time.
I miss my life.
Two years ago, I turned 30. I spent that birthday with the most amazing group of friends, who planned an absolutely perfect celebration for me, from a boat trip to a jazz bar to karaoke to a photo album full of memories.
Last week, I turned 32. I spent that birthday counting down the hours until home time (Thursday is the worst day), and then sitting alone in my grotty flat, in a city I’ve hardly seen anything of, looking at old photos and crying most pathetically into the fur of a teddy bear. Two years between the best birthday of my life and the worst one.
I hate it here.
I can’t even write coherently about it, because my thoughts and feelings are a jumbled mess. If I don’t like my job, I should just quit. If I quit, it will look really bad on my CV (it’s a really prestigious, internationally respected company). I should go out and make friends. I’m tired all the time, I don’t have the energy. I’m in my thirties, what have I got to show for it? And around and around I go.
There’s a public holiday here on Monday, and I found out yesterday that my early class on Tuesday has been cancelled. I spent hours last night scouring the internet for a cheap last minute flight home for the weekend, but apparently that doesn’t exist. So there goes the main reason for moving back to Europe, doesn’t it? Sure, the flights are cheaper than from Korea, but that hardly matters when I’m making in a month here what I earned in a week there.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
It’s like it’s a giant game of snakes and ladders, and a few years ago I was up in the 90s somewhere. then I landed a small snake and slid down a few rows. Kept going, rolled the dice, got unbelievably lucky with a good CELTA result, an instant job offer, and a place to live… and immediately landed on the snake that makes you go all the way back down to square one, where everything is about a million times worse than it was the first time you were there because you can see everyone else up near the top, generally via Facebook statuses and photos showing you how much fun you would be having if you were with them. The loneliness and regret is overwhelming. Some days, I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with an adult. I ripped myself out of my own life, and now I no longer have one.
I have no idea what I’m doing, why I’m here, what I want, where I’m going, or what to do.
So that’s why I’ve disappeared. This ridiculous piece of writing probably proves that it was a good idea for me to just shut up and fade into the background, eh?
Sorry. I’ll be back when I figure it out…