Friday, March 7, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Today I had to go to Daegu to register with the immigration office. On the drive there, weaving through the hazy, blue mountains, I found myself reflecting on the series of events that brought me here.

It's funny: one year ago, I thought for sure 2008 would find me in Kalamazoo, attending Reformed Baptist Church and spending all my free time with Duper and the rest of the gang. Two years ago, I knew for certain that at this time I would be finishing up my master's degree in public history at UNC Wilmington. Five years ago, I thought I would have my bachelor's degree from PCC (not Liberty) and be teaching a history class in a private school in the USA right now. Ten years ago, I was convinced that by age 23, I would be married and have at least one child.

Life is very unpredictable. The very dreams that are built upon one day are ground into sand the next. Ideals are clutched tenderly and moments later discarded like rubbish. The best laid plans are carefully sketched out, and then later completely abandoned. Sometimes, I trade in my plans for something better, and sometimes just for something different. Often after years of dreaming, when the dream finally becomes reality, I find that the dream was better.

It was a very long, very complicated road that brought me here to Korea. I had to make a few U-turns, met a few dead ends, and even took a few detours, but I guess most of it has been worth it. A few of the detours, I could have done without, but all in all, I am at last finding my way. I am very glad that my road has taken me to Korea.

Ever since I was about three years old, and first became aware of other countries, I have dreamed of living abroad. As much as I have always wanted it, however, this was never really a dream I thought would come true. I always imagined this would be my "untold want," such as Whitman wrote of. Asia never even entered my mind until I studied East Asia in my junior year of college. Even then, I was fascinated, but never thought I would actually go there. I didn't really consider Korea seriously until about July of last year, and I kept putting the thought out of my head until November, when it refused to leave my mind and took permanent root. And now, mere months later, here I am. This is my new dream, and for a change, the reality is better.

As we drove back from Daegu, back through through those same enchanting mountains, I could hear familiar song lyrics in my mind:

"Climb ev'ry mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow ev'ry by-way,
Every path you know.

Climb ev'ry mountain,
Ford ev'ry stream,
Follow ev'ry rainbow
'Till you find your dream..."

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"