On The Way Out…

So, we’re now at two weeks until the day we’re supposed to leave our apartment. There’s an unspecified number of days after that, during which we’ll still be in Korea, but not in our apartment. I’m not sure where we’ll be, but it won’t be on campus.

This means we’re in the thick of packing, sorting, discarding stuff, but also trying to deal with paperwork, legal stuff, and a bunch of other things. I’m frankly a little worried about whether we’re going to manage to get it all done–from selling off our remaining furniture, to clearing out the books that I’m either selling off or keeping, to packing what we will be bringing.

Somewhere along the way, I need to also find time to file for multiple pension payments, and figure out when my severance pay is coming, as well as figuring out just how my banking situation is going to look when we do leave. (I’d hoped I could maybe get a permanent residency visa before we leave, thus avoiding the deletion of my alien registration number from the database, as I’m not sure to what degree my credit cards and bank accounts will continue to be functional once that form of identification is no more.)

So… stressful. Of course, we’re also excited, even though things are still vague up ahead.


But as I looked for a picture to use for the featured image for this post, I ran across one from almost a decade ago. It’s a photo of my stuff, just after I moved from Iksan to Jeonju in 2003. Thinking back to that day, I can only smile. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with my new job, with my new apartment, but I was traveling relatively light, and I was optimistic about the change… change, then, felt good in and of itself. Moving felt like I was going toward something.

Much as I’ve expressed my unhappiness in Korea here, this move is also about that: about moving toward something, Several somethings, really: figuring out what’s next for me career wise, after I set aside some time for throwing myself into my writing first. (Which I’m thinking of as a kind of self-funded sabbatical.) Then there’s leaving Korea, which is something that I perhaps should have done a while ago, but which wasn’t truly feasible until now for one or another reason every time it became possible. (Or at least, that was what I chose to believe at those moments.) But I’m in a good place emotionally, in general, and feel up for a challenge.

Hopefully, the challenge isn’t listening and planning to show up all at once, like a baseball bat to the face.

In any case, that’s the situation. Looking at that old photo again, I can say one thing: I want to travel light again. I’ll be leaving the books I cannot bear to part with with at least one, maybe two or three friends… but it’s time, now, to donate away the clothes I haven’t thought about wearing in years, to discard the things I never look at and don’t care about. It’s time for a cull from the shelves of my life, in other words. And high time, too. I’m trying to be merciless about it, even though every snippet or thingie in every box I open summons up a million memories.

But the freedom to move without breaking my back, or paying a ton of money in storage, that’s worth it, right?

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