An Unexpected Journey

- Joyce Kim

     The year of 2010 I went to Korea for the experience and culture. A lot of the people around me supported my new adventure and earnestly hoped that I would gain more knowledge and  speaking abilities while living there. However, since I ended up in the southern part of Korea I learned a different dialect of the Korean language that may have not been keen to my father's ear. Yet, through this dialect and culture difference I came to learn to enjoy and share with my father the Korean culture and had many laughs through the experience.

     In addition to learning about the Korean culture and the language, I also met various people that have influenced my life. The people that I met were native Koreans, Korean-Americans/Australians, and people from all over the world. Their influence helped me mold my life and who I am today. One person in particular influenced my life by sharing her life, home, and family with me. She literally took me under her wing and helped me adjust my living style in Korea. Till this day I am grateful for her heart and her love that she shared over me.

     After my first year in Korea ended, I came back to America to see how I could adjust my living style to the way I use to be. So, I worked in a cubicle at a desk from 9-5 everyday. It was a life style I could not get used to. Yet, I remembered a scene from The Hobbit, Bilbo asked Gandalf, "Will you guarantee that I come back?", Gandalf replied, "No. And if you do, You will not be the same." Through this scene I realized, like Biblo, I went on an adventure to find myself changed from the inside and found it difficult to adjust to the American lifestyle that I once knew.

     So, as my soul was depressed from the dreary everyday life in America, I sought to fill my soul of adventure once again in Korea. I felt that if I were to go back to Korea I would have the new excitement of sightseeing and feeling refreshed. In addition to the excitement, I believed I would meet new people and their excitement would bring back life in me.

     As I landed this time in Korea, I found myself ready and prepared for the new year. I arrived on my campus to be amazed at the scenery and astounded by the accommodations the university provided me. Along with a great campus, I had great co-workers to work with. This was what I was looking for and my soul was at peace. I enjoyed my time in Korea.

     As the school semesters passed on, I found that my co-workers were busy with their own life, my students had come and gone, and my supervisors were less attentive to my needs. And towards the end of my stay in Korea, I began to realize the importance of home and community.

     I enjoyed my adventure in Korea, but like Bilbo in The Hobbit, states "I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. See, that's where I belong, that's home." This was how I felt towards Bethany and the community I had here. So, now that I am back, no matter how long or short it may be, I hope I can sow more into Bethany this time because the one thing I lacked from Korea was not only receiving community love but also giving. And of course, "whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8)