Korea: My fifth official announcement

One year ago today, I officially announced that I planned to move to Korea. I’d told my family and a few friends, but I shared it for the first time publicly here on January 1, 2011.

This year, 2012, a few ideas have run through my mind, announcements I’ve considered sharing. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though, telling too much about plans. I’d rather focus instead on what I’m doing now.

That said, I’ve made an important decision that will affect the rest of the year for me and for those around me. I’ve decided I’m not staying a second year here. When I finish my contract in May, I’m resigning, not re-signing.

To my friends and family in America, this might not seem like much of an announcement. To many of them, I’m sure they assumed I would return. Returning seems like the default plan, not a change of plans.

To my friends in Korea, though, this announcement is more like my initial announcement to move to Korea, not nearly as crazy, because they knew I planned to return eventually, but still an upset.

Like my initial announcement a year ago, this one feels bittersweet, maybe even more so than the first one because I now know more about how the bitter tastes.

It’s hard to say goodbye.

As of today, I’ve been in Korea exactly eight months, two-thirds of the way through my contract. I’m sure this last third will zoom past faster than the other two. So this announcement means a few things.

  1. For everyone here, it means I need to wrap up what I’m currently doing and either close it down or pass it off. I’ll have to pass on my position to another teacher at JLS. I’ll end up transitioning out of some of the roles I’ve filled in the church here. Most of all, I’ll say goodbye to friends who – even though we haven’t known each other very long – seem like the closest friends I have right now. I’ll make room for others to take my place.
  2. For everyone back in America – in case you thought you escaped the shocking news – this announcement doesn’t necessarily mean I’m coming home, just that I’m not staying in Korea. I’ll update more on that later. Again, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
  3. For me personally, it means I want to cram everything into now. As Michael Jackson wanted to say, this is it. There’s no holding out, saving up experiences. I only have four months left, so I better hang out with everyone I’ve wanted to hang out with and do everything I’ve wanted to do here right now.

To both sides of the world, in case you’re wondering, I’ve loved it here. A wise man once said, “The best time to leave a job is when it can’t get any better.” That’s the advice I’m following.

But even though there’s no way the second year could top this first one, I’m still going to try to make this last third of a year top the first third here.