Justin Tadlock

They do say all good things must come to an end

Just over one year ago, I set off on what has been one of the greatest adventures of my life.

Actually, exactly one year and one month ago, I was mere hours away from flying to South Korea.

I’m heading home soon. To the States. To Alabama. My home.

There’s a part of me that’s been waiting to see my family and friends for months. Another part of me — well, it’s still holding on to this place, yearning to stay just a bit longer, to see a little more.

To live a little more.

I feel like Korea is home.

I say this knowing that I haven’t seen the beautiful green trees of Alabama or, heck, an actual clean stream of water in a long damn time. I say this knowing that I haven’t eaten a great hamburger or had a glass of milk that doesn’t smell like it’s gone sour in over a year. Trust me, these things matter.

I also say this knowing that I’d marry about 50% of the female population here — no questions asked.

Honestly though, I suppose it’s easy to get attached to a place, especially if you’re working a great job with good money and have established friendships with people from all over the world.

That’s the real truth.

I’ve met people that I knew I’d have to say goodbye to one day, I just didn’t think it’d be so soon.

I’d been planning on staying until December, but (unless Superman himself will use his lightning speed to rush the visa renewal process) I’ll be leaving in two weeks.

I’ll go home happy.

I do want to stay longer, but I’ll be happy returning home too.

The only thing I can think of is how different everything will be. People tell me (those that have went home and returned to Korea) that it’s just plain weird hearing English everywhere. I think that’s part of the reason I like Korea so much — it’s quiet. Not being able to speak Korean let’s me tune the world out every now and then.

I can’t even imagine what it’d be like spending more than $10 a week on travel costs on the subway. My dad tells me that gas prices are up to somewhere around $4.50 per gallon in our state (there goes all my savings, riding around to all my friends’ houses to see them).

I love being able to walk over to Quizno’s in less than a minute or grocery shopping in two. I think the city life has spoiled me.

I’ll miss my students.

When I initially took a job teaching English to Korean kids, I was in it for the money and the chance to experience another culture. I didn’t realize I would actually like my job. Well, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad, but I quickly fell in love with teaching.

I’ve always had an interest in education because I came from a relatively poor county in Alabama. I always felt the educational system was lacking in a lot of different areas.

Never knew I’d care that much about teaching.

But it’s more than just teaching. I’ve known some of the students at my school for a year now. Some of them trust me to teach them. Others, well…others are just kids. Not all kids like school. Who knew?

I hate to leave my students behind just as much as my friends. In some ways, it might even be harder.

I still feel like a kid most days — I’m only 24. Of course, the receding hairline leads the kids to believe that I’m pushing 40.

What will I do from here?

Well, I’m not entirely sure. I do have a few plans in mind, a few things that I had planned on doing once I got home anyway. I might just have to push my schedule forward a bit.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll come back one day. I’m still young, not tied down by anyone or anything.

Well, my grandparents probably won’t ever let me leave their house when I get there. They’ll lock me up in their back bedroom. Not that it would be a bad life.

Granny cooks some killer…

Don’t all grandmothers cook the best everything?