If this was your last day in a country that you’ve spent three years in, what would you do?
Finish packing? Run some errands? Have your favourite dish one last time? Say loads of tearful goodbyes?
How about dressing up in a home made, duct tape, dominatrix outfit, complete with corset and whip to run in a race? No? Not your cup of tea? I can’t blame you, I did get a lot of weird looks. But dressing up as a dominatrix is exactly what I did. It was the day I was flying out of Korea and I figured there’s no better way to spend the day than running a race early in the morning with team dirt, a group of running enthusiasts who like to have a good time and make a scene while doing so. The mayor of Goyang City thought it was a great idea, too. He asked us to join him at the starting line for a photo op (…we’re famous!!). I guess I can never run for a political position without fear of these photos popping up… hehehe. It really was a good day: deep dish chicago style pizza with team dirt, digital photo sticker booth with friends, a date at starbucks, a red feather headband, goodbye texts from friends, and flying away…
I’ve had a lot of good times in these three years, made a lot of good quality friends that I’m going to miss terribly. But as I was sitting on the tarmac getting ready for take-off, I felt nothing but satisfaction and contentment. I didn’t cry. I didn’t even really look back. I packed all the memories, the mistakes, the laughs, the challenges and the people into my mind and prepared to take it all with me as I went off into the world. It’s kind of amazing to think about how all the people you’ve met along your journey have affected you and shaped you into who you are.
It’s strange, too, how things come full circle, how life can be so symmetrical. Friends that I made at the first Goyang Women’s Marathon, are the same friends I said goodbye to at yesterday’s Goyang race. I lived in Hwajeong my first year in Korea and Hwajeong was the last city I stayed in before I left this time around. My first year, the postmaster drove me to my school when a taxi wouldn’t come to fetch me, and this year I met a neighbour the day I moved out of my apartment who offered to drive me to the post office then back to my school. Full circle.
Of course it’s difficult to leave a place after making it home, but if you long for a nomadic life, if your feet are restless and you can’t shake that feeling of wanderlust, then goodbyes are a cruel necessity. That’s what it’s like to have a life in transit.
Here’s to looking forward to more awesome adventures and painful goodbyes.