So, hi. It’s been awhile. Once again, I can only plead “busy” in my defense. My time here is winding down, and I’m starting to feel the pressure. It’s interesting what a range of emotions I experience on a daily basis, knowing that I have less than 2 months remaining. On the one hand, it makes me miss home more (Trader Joe’s bread? Goldenspoon frozen yogurt? Shopping at Target? The ocean: bonfires / surfing / swimming / not being the color of a fresh marshmallow? My family? My dog? Outdoor space for private relaxation? Bookstores full of texts I can understand? Hot yoga?). On the other hand, I have become acutely aware of how much I will miss once I have left Korea (My Pooh Bear babies? Korean food? The freedom afforded to me by my little apartment? Hiking up a mountain that is only a ten-minute walk from my home? A fun-filled night of makgeolli and jeon for $8? The ever-changing riverwalk?).

After being back home for some time, I start to get antsy. This led me to choose to attend Notre Dame, to studying in Innsbruck after finally settling in in the foreign country of Indiana, and to teaching English in South Korea. And yet, after some time has elapsed in each new place, I feel a calling from home. It’s like my life is a strange seesaw dance, as I try to balance two constantly-competing forces. And so, after an incredibly fulfilling year, I am ready to come home once more. After taking an amazing 10-week backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, of course, during which time I plan on getting dirtier and grungier than I have ever been in my entire life.

Without giving too many details, the fairly solid plan is: Seoul (Korea)→ Manila (Philippines) → Palawan Island (Philippines) → BALI (Indonesia) → Singapore → Melaka (Malaysia) → Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) → Penang (Malaysia) → Bangkok (Thailand) → Chiang Mai (Thailand) → Pai (Thailand) → Luang Prabang (Laos) → Vientiane (Laos) → Pakse (Laos) → Pnom Penh (Cambodia) → Koh Rong (Cambodia) → Siem Reap (Cambodia) → Phuket (Thailand) → Seoul (Korea) → Los Angeles (California). To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Yes, my workplace may bother me on a regular basis. Yes, my health here is horrible (latest development: I have a tumor in my foot. Sorry if that grosses you out, it grosses me out, too). And yes, it is monsoon season, so I generally make the sun’s acquaintance only once a week (never on a weekend, naturally). But I am finally happy with my life here, with my little bubble and the knowledge that it will soon burst. So for the next fifty-four days, I will ride out the wave of this time of my life, enjoying every minute of it while knowing that there is always another wave coming to take me somewhere new.

Gyeongbokgung Palace. Seoul.

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