Bye Bye Busan!

Leaving a place that you’ve lived in for a long time is a violent process – even beyond the self inflicted violence against your brain cells that comes with all the boozy farewells!

Essentially, what you’re doing every time you dismantle a part of your room, visit a place for the last time, or say one more goodbye to one more person is slowly killing off part of what you have considered to be your ‘self’ over whatever stretch of time you have lived in that place. I’m not saying that you will lose all of the changes that you’ve undergone over the course of the year, or that your experience will be dead – but that entity that people refer to as “Chris”, “Gyeong-Mo”, “Captain Jack”, or whatever your name happens to be – built up from and defined by all of the habits, surroundings, work, and friends, that you’ve surrounded yourself with all year is very rapidly ceasing to exist.

Me with some of my third year students at their graduation and my last day at school in Korea.

Whether you’ve loved a place or hated it, have been dreading your departure or longing for it, it’s absolutely impossible to leave without feeling sad, like something is disappearing. That thing that’s disappearing is you. You can always see the friends that you’ve made again in the future, you can always come back to the same place, maybe it won’t have even changed so much, but it won’t be the same. Because ‘you’ are gone. That guy that you once were when you lived there is now nothing more than a story that you remind yourself of; a memory residing in the minds of the people that you’ve known.