Why I Left Korea

I left Korea 2 days ago. My decision was impulsive and I’m still unsure if it was the right move. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that I ran away again. I wasn’t happy. As things started to fall apart, I self-medicated with alcohol. It wasn’t pretty.

Every day I sat at my job, the more I hated myself for settling. When I thought of my new university position, I hated myself even more. Teaching English is NOT what I want to do for the rest of my life. What the hell did I get a PhD in Psychology for if I was never going to use it? Why did I keep applying for jobs elsewhere when I already had an offer?

Why was I staying in a country that I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to be in anymore? I never quite fit in there. Maybe it was the language barrier. Maybe it was due to me not trying hard enough. Maybe I should have given it another year. Whatever the reason, Korea and I weren’t the best fit.


My relationship with Mr. Glitter was slowly unravelling. When I announced that I was leaving, it swiftly hit rock bottom. I won’t get into details because I’m still not sure what the hell happened or is happening… However, I will say this… I tried. He tried. It worked splendidly for a while – and then it didn’t. Despite our issues and my broken heart, I’m still rooting for us. Eventually, I know I’ll have to let go. For now, I’m still naively hopeful.

So, what’s next? I’m back home in Brooklyn for now. I need this time to regroup, love on myself a bit more, and enjoy the fabulousness that is New York City. I’ll spend the next few months traveling around the country to visit friends and family before I head off into the world again. I’ve got something brewing for August and will announce it once everything is settled. If When all goes well, I’ll have one hell of a testimony.

Anyway, don’t fret. The doom and gloom theme that has accompanied my recent posts is just about done here. While I enjoy sharing the good and not so good with you all, I think it’s time for a new, happier, brighter, chapter to begin.


Here goes nothing…



17 thoughts on “Why I Left Korea

  1. It’s a courageous and beautiful thing to move when you need to do so…thanks for sharing what so many ex-pats go through but are afraid to admit. Can’t wait to hear about your next (international or domestic) adventure!

    • That life is certainly not easy and I wish more people talked about it openly. I’ll admit that I felt a bit cowardly at first. I thought, maybe I’m not cut out to be an ex-pat after all? However, I’m willing to give it another go.

  2. As someone who is currently living abroad… I completely understand. Only now, my 3rd year, do I feel truly acclimated, with a life not revolving around work or others. It hasn’t been easy. If I could have left, I would have left… I hope you find peace on your journey. There is nothing like going home, snuggling up with friends and family, speaking English, eating “regular” food… so enjoy!!

    • Thank you for sharing that! I’ve been going over and over in my head whether or not leaving was the right decision. Korea was never meant to last more than a year or 2, but part of me felt like I gave up too easily. I beat myself up about not being able to “tough it out” longer and then I remember that I’m absolutely no good to myself or the world if I’m broken and downtrodden. I’m glad you’ve found your groove in DR. Gives me hope that it’s possible.

  3. Timah, once again I have to thank you for being so willing to share your ups and downs with such honesty. Keeping you in my thoughts as you adjust back to life in the states and work on healing the heartache. In my (still all too recent) experience, I found Donny Hathaway and Whitney Houston to be a good Rx for a broken heart. If nothing else they help bring out the kind of tears that are as cleansing as they are painful.

    • Denice, I am beginning to firmly believe that we are indeed kindred spirits. Hugs to you. On my “Heartbroken” playlist Donny Hathaway’s Giving Up is prominently featured. The tears! Oh, the tears. Perhaps I’ll add some Whitney this week. Cleansing is definitely in order.

  4. You’re on the right track. Take time to self reflect, meditate and know you’re worthy to be treated with respect and love without forsaking your happiness. Read “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” by Steve Harvey. You deserve the best. If you and Mr. Glitter find each other again, make sure you have requirements and standards in place and stick to them. If he is right for you, he’ll do right by you.

    • Funny how others can see more clearly than I. Perhaps you’re right and this is the right track – no matter how confusing it may appear. “If he is right for you, he’ll do right by you.” <-- Well said. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. I have 3 quotes 4 u 1) Remember that Great Love and Great Achievements involve Great risk…, 2) We must go through the Storm to appreciate the Sunshine…, 3) Tough Times never last, Tough People do… Sweetie you are true to your heart always be that way, you are young enjoy life to the fullest…

  6. Hun, whatever’s right for you is going to be wonderful. I know it was hard but I’m glad you’re doing something you really want to do now. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m in a much better place now and it has only been 2 weeks. Each day is confirming that I made the right decision.

  7. I know you wrote this post a while ago but I only recently found your blog. I am in the midst of deciding to teach in Korea, but at the moment I am in the States after teaching in Japan for about 10 months. I also wondered if I was doing the right thing in leaving Japan and not trying harder or at least staying til I got my visa renewed. Now that I’ve returned to the States I’m certain I picked the wrong decision. But I’m trying to not get bogged down by that and am focusing on planning my next adventure. In Japan, I felt the pressures of the language barrier, the stress of not making as much money as I felt I needed, and of course of the not-so-sly gawks because black foreigners are not common in my town.

    Each day I’m home confirms for me that I made the wrong decision though. Mostly, because I became obsessed with the Idea of coming “home” and the reality is much different.

    How do you feel now? Does it get better?

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