"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."- Anais Nin
Imagine how many worlds are waiting to be born, just upon meeting and making a new friend. In Korea, you are exposed to so many people that you may have never had the chance to meet before, simply because being here brings us together in new ways. Whether we're here to teach, to study, to work, to visit, or to live, Korea has the means of connecting people how you never thought possible. You learn more about yourself and other cultures in the process. I've learned more about the world through meeting new friends here; understood more about how people relate than anything I ever learned in school.
There's a song I learned growing up about making new friends but keeping the old because "one is silver, the other gold." Moving from place to place ensures that you can meet a lot of people, but the hardest part of friendship is keeping it from dying out. As a young child, it's easier to maintain a friendship without all the distractions of adult life. But I feel somewhere along the way we get swept up in finishing graduate programs, careers, getting married, relocating, and having babies that it's hard to maintain the same level of contact as before. I had this very conversation with an old friend, one of the few I've managed to keep in touch with post-university and moving to Korea. The time difference between Korea and home has made communication a little difficult at some points, but we try to make it work. Sometimes just a simple message on Facebook or an email might be all there is time for at that moment, but the thought behind it is what matters most.
It is always my hope that when people leave Korea, that we might be able to keep up the friendship we forged over our shared experiences. I'm always optimistic about that. And I hope that those who left already know that they are missed by those of us still here.
The door is always open, waiting for a friend to walk through.