To (Not) Go Home

“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.

{February 11} To (Not) Go Home

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.

19 Responses to “To (Not) Go Home”

  1. The Texan says:

    Glad Korea suits you so well.

    The pizza’s better where I come from anyway.

  2. liz says:

    had someone told you even six months ago that you’d be staying longer than your contract (or even for your full contract), would you have believed him? absolutely not.

    it’s hard for me to believe you now.

    but i am so seriously happy that you are home.


  3. Meera says:

    Aw, yeah.


    Home is so hard to find. I’m still looking. And you are so lucky.


  4. Burke says:

    Congrats Steph. Maybe we’ll see you at some of those weddings!

  5. lori says:

    yay! one year! and im so glad you are glad, and I am so glad you let us see your journey home. yay!

  6. Jane says:

    I love that you fell in love–even without a year’s supply of deodorant. That can be tricky sometimes. But seriously, congratulations.

  7. Megan says:

    I love your story. It’s a good one.

  8. Stumbled on your blog via a google alert – cool that you decided to go to Korea! If you decide to come to Florence, one of my friends just finished the printmaking program if you want to chat with her!

  9. tina miely says:

    dear girl. I cannot believe this to be true! Have you found a Korean man whom which you have fallen madly in love with?

  10. Cliff says:

    I ran across your blog from your flickr page and have been very intrigued by your journey. I’m glad you’ve found a place to call home that actually feels “like home”. What a difference a year can make, eh?

  11. Liza Kate says:


    Good for you, ladyfriend!

    That has got to feel terrific.

  12. Astrid says:

    cool. you are staying.

  13. mary says:

    steph, congratulations on a whole year lived the fullest. hard to believe that a little over a year ago we were conversing over skype during your first few days of korea, you wondering whether you’d ever come to like it, and me wondering how long til you fully loved it. glad the love part finally came and that you are so in your element.
    hey, maybe you can swing through vancouver island during the summer? pretty please?

  14. billy says:

    great story… so much emotion in the words. excellent read.

  15. tina says:

    through flickr i somehow stumbled across your pictures and blog and i really enjoyed reading this now. moving abroad is such an adventure. but really feeling home is the best of all.

  16. Heather says:

    Wow! That’s wonderful news!! Please, please do come by our place on your road trip. We misses you. Besides, we have to take you out on the boat.
    HB + Pip

  17. Leilani says:

    If your road trip involves New York, would love to see you. You know you have my couch. I am glad you are staying, because that gives us all another year to come visit you!!!


  18. jamica says:

    found you through hanna’s flickr…love your photography and posts about korea:)
    asia definitely has that affect on people…i moved to taiwan for about a year after i graduated from college and fell in love with the island. i’m dying to go back…and this time with my husband so he too can feel the affect the asian world can have on someone:)

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