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Saying Goodbye to the Comforts of Home

A Canadian ESL teacher reflects on life at home while preparing for her big move to Korea.

The time has come! I am now just hours away from my departure into an unknown world. And yet, I still can’t believe it’s really happening.

The last few days have been eye-opening for me, to say the least. I don’t think your mind can escape going into overdrive in situations like this (or at least I can’t stop mine!) As a result, though, I’ve learned a lot about myself lately.

I try to always be conscious of my surroundings and to take it all in. I try to live in the moment, and to fully experience whatever it is that I’m doing by being present. Whether it’s truly listening during a conversation, or taking in the scenery on a walk outdoors, I do my best to make the most of it. I don’t want to miss out on a beautiful, unexpected view, or an important moment with someone that I may never have the chance to experience again.

However, in the last few days, I’ve started to realize that I haven’t always done this well. The stress of preparing to move across the world has turned me into a bit of a scatterbrain at times! I know I’ve missed out on more than my fair share of potentially great conversations and beautiful sights because of this.

I discovered this the other day while I was driving down a highway I’ve been on regularly throughout my entire life. Instead of rushing to get the next task on my list done as quickly as possible, l took the time to actually look around and enjoy the drive. The sun was shining, the fields were glowing bright orange and green, and the trees lining the road were starting to change colour at the tops. The natural beauty of it all suddenly struck me. How can I take this for granted so often!?

Another flood of thoughts soon followed about the life I lead here in Canada, and how much I will miss it. I love living in the country. The space, the quietness, and the privacy are a welcome escape from the chaos and fast pace of city life. I love lying in my hammock on the back deck, feeling the warmth of the sun as I bury myself in a book. I love spending time with my family and friends, and how easy it is to get together with them. In another day, all of this will change drastically. My Korean life will be so completely different than everything I’ve ever known.

It’s funny how you only start to notice things about your everyday life when it finally hits you that you’re about to leave it all behind for a year, or maybe even longer.

I’ve been so busy lately with all the preparations for Korea—running what seems like hundreds of errands and completing my long list of tasks—that I keep forgetting to slow down and enjoy the process. It’s not everyday that I’ll be gearing up for the biggest move of my life so far!

It hasn’t exactly been an easy process, either—full of ups and downs, and complete with a wide range of emotions that come and go without warning! One minute I’m excited and can’t wait to start my new life in Korea, and the next I’m terrified and wondering what on earth I’m getting myself into! Before I can stop it, I’m already asking myself, “What ever possessed me to make this decision!?”

But no matter how much I will miss the familiarity and comforts of home, I know this is something I want to do for myself. I have so much to learn and experience, and I can’t wait to get started!

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Allison Burney

A small-town Ontario native, Allison Burney studied journalism and human rights at Carleton University in Ottawa. Volunteering in Guyana sparked her desire to keep travelling and learning about different cultures. Interested in teaching ESL? Perfect! Allison lets us in on her experiences teaching in Korea.

Website: allisonburney.wordpress.com/

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