Across the seas.
When my brother moved to South Korea, I barely heard from him. I thought, “Maybe it’s hard to get internet over there,” or “Internet might be really expensive.” It turns out that his procrastination and/or laziness were to blame. Yet, I am happy to report that he finally bit the bullet and joined the cyberworld.
Internet or not internet, I wish there was a word that better describes the feeling of missing someone. We need a word for that. I usually get waves of that forlorn feeling when I think of a clever joke, want extra cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese, listen to a certain melancholic melody, or just want to talk in circles around the same idea… That’s when I miss my brother the most. I think of him across the seas, and I can’t help but smile at his bravery. So this is me tipping my hat off to John A. Trujillo for being a true explorer, and an official badass.
We moved around a lot growing up because my Dad was in the U.S Air Force. As military brats and third culture kids we packed our bags, flew off to another country, and struggled to make new lives and friends on another patch of Earth. Most of these “fresh starts” were in South or Central America, so we were never forced to move somewhere completely out of our Spanish-speaking comfort zone. When we relocated back to the U.S in 2005, culture shock set in.
Not being able to get in anywhere past 10pm or roam aimlessly through old cities was hard. Worse yet was the thought of staying in one place for the unforeseeable future. Even now, after a couple of years in one place, my soul feels restless. Occasionally, I pull up Google Maps and try to plot new adventures or concoct semi-rational plans that involve moving to another spot on the globe. I think that’s how my sisters and brother feel too. The difference is, he did it.
I’m sort of ashamed to say how I first reacted when John told me he was thinking of moving to South Korea. For serendipitous reasons, John and I hadn’t really been apart for more than a couple of months at a time. So the thought of him moving so far seemed pretty lame to me. My immediate reaction was to list all the potential obstacles and terrible scenarios. Words can barely scratch the surface of how glad I am that he totally ignored everything I said.
“We need the tonic of wildness… ” —Henry David Thoreau
Last February, he quit his job and moved to South Korea to teach English in small town to children of all ages. Not only does he have to come up with plans to engage toddlers and teenagers but he’s learning Korean, and studying to apply to architecture school. When I don’t feel much like researching or am hesitant about something, I think of him and am constantly inspired by his courage and perseverance.
Although I am a self-proclaimed explorer, I don’t really deserve the title, he does. He’ll most likely be in South Korea for another year and a half. Short of hanging out with him, I couldn’t be happier that he is having such an epic adventure and doing it so well. Whether he is helping old ladies carry their groceries, teaching kids English, or dancing on stage at an MIA concert, he’s braving cultural divides. If your own journey takes you to South Korea you should contact him, he’s one of the raddest people you will ever meet. Scout’s honor.