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Farewell Korea

... onto the next adventure

all seasons in one day 30 °F
View Lunar New Year 2011 & Chuseok 2011 & New Years 2011 & Korean Home on nlpolyak's travel map.

Well after a year and a half… 548 days... 13,152 hours… 789,120 minutes… you get the point – a long @$$ time – it is time to say goodbye to Korea, our lives here, our students, our friends, and all the other amazing people we have met here. It has been a whirlwind of a week full of “To Do Lists” and frantically trying to get everything packed and stored away while coming to the realization that a backpack just isn’t that big. Now, with 11 hours left in Korea, the bags are overstuffed, we are preparing for our last sleep in a “home”, and I sit down to share with you some farewell thoughts.

I feel like we’ve been counting down for this day for so long and now that it’s here I feel more sentimental than I ever thought I would. I came to Korea looking for adventure, anxious to see the world, and hoping to develop more personally. Looking back at our time, I can honestly say we got what we were looking for and so much more. Our journey in Korea has not been an easy one; yet I recognize that life often is not easy, no matter where you are located around the world. However, each and every day Korea has presented us with challenges, big and small; struggles, personal and professional; and mountainous opposition, surmountable and insurmountable, but a year and a half later I am thankful for every bit of this experience. As a couple, Joe and I have always been best friends, but Korea has made us a family unit. We have become an unbreakable, unbeatable, unshakable, undefeated team and I expect the next leg of this journey to solidify this even more.

Beyond the small, family unit that Joe and I have created in our shoebox apartment, I was blessed with the most amazing students a teacher could ever ask for. The 10 of us are undeniably a tight-knit family with a unique bond, full of once in a lifetime love shaped in our little classroom. I wish you all could have gotten the experience to meet these kids, they are truly angels. Take a look at some cute graduation pictures....

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My student's parents also got us an incredible farewell present. They gave both Joe and I our own hanboks, the traditional clothes in Korea worn on special occasions. It was such a generous and incredible gift. One we will surely never forget!

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Korea has also blessed us with some amazing friends. We’ve gotten to meet so many different people and form strong friendships. Our family circle keeps getting bigger… Joe & I, my students, and now we add Steph. Steph has been such a huge part of our Korean experience. We are a trio that never stops laughing, causing trouble, and having fun. Steph has been one of the greatest additions to my life. I thank Korea from the bottom of my heart for delivering my favorite thing about Canada.

To round out our family circle, we need to add Julia, because what family is complete without the heart of the family... the clown that is always making everyone smile. We also have our Korean friends (Angel, my coworkers, Bonnie) who gave us a wonderful insight into what true Korean life is like, guided us every single time we needed help, and helped us better understand Korean culture. You added a unique dimension to our experience that we couldn't have otherwise had.

As you can see, although this has been a trying experience, we created a life and a family in Korea that will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are so thankful and feel so blest to have had this opportunity. In addition to this, we are also thankful to our real families for supporting us, loving us, and keeping us included in the family even from 8,000 miles away!! You guys are amazing!! 92 more days!!

Now for the exciting part… In 11 short hours we board a plane for Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam. We will be starting a 3 month backpacking adventure through Southeast Asia. Below you will see a map with a rough idea of how we plan to explore but much of our time will be spent by spontaneously deciding where we go and what we do for the day. I will try to write shorter blogs when we have internet and keep you up to date with our location and some pictures. We are definitely on to a whole different kind of challenge but we feel prepared and ready to take it on together! Wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts!!!


We miss you and love you!! We’re almost home!!

“May travelers upon the road find happiness, no matter where they go, & may they gain, without the need of toll, the goals on which they set their hearts.”

Posted by nlpolyak 09:15 Archived in South Korea Tagged farewell thanks

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by ernest kroessler

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