“So, why Korea?” Marshall asked as we drove through the mountains of Vermont en route to New Year’s in Montréal.
“I really wanted to study printmaking in Italy.”
“I hate to tell you, Steph, but have you looked at a map?”
But that is exactly how it began. I wanted to study printmaking in Florence. I had wanted to study printmaking in Florence for at least five years. Whenever Life As I Currently Knew It became unbearably predictable, there I was again, calculator in hand, determining how many thousands of dollars it was going to cost me to study printmaking in Florence. How many, many, several thousands of dollars. Many several thousands of dollars good friends like Sallie Mae and the IRS wanted instead.
Through a series of serendipitous conversations, it was revealed that Korea was the one place I could go to experience overseas travel & adventure and be PAID several thousands of dollars to do it. Not Italy, not laying on my back in the Tuscan sun drawing in my diary, having romantic entanglements with Italian men, all while sipping espresso. But also not Massachusetts and with that, I was sold. This was followed by a few months of hemming, hawing and other procrastination techniques at which I excel. Finally in January, I ponied up and did it. Within 12 days I was on a plane.
And so here I am, one year from the moment I landed in Seoul and this is the news: I am staying. I love it. Like, I really, crazy, mad love it. It is strange that I had to go half-way around the world, to a place probably last on my list of places to visit, to find home. But that is exactly what happened.
I will remain at my current job through the spring and then return for a much-needed vacation of weddings and road-tripping and babies being born by sisters. But by fall, I will be returning to Korea, this time with guitar, old cameras and a year’s supply of deoderant.
Korea is nothing like Florence, and I haven’t learned shit about printmaking, but that’s cool. I’ve been walloped over the head with way, way more than I could have imagined.