Seoul: Springboard to the World . . .

After getting my paper degree at York University in Toronto, I decided to take a risk and travel overseas and work for a foreign company. I chose Korea, the land of my ancestors and was hired by one of the top 5 chaebols.

I was concerned a little bit. I had led a sheltered life in Canada and most of my friends were anyone but Koreans. My parents, who immigrated to the Great White North in the 1970's were happy I was going back to my roots. They thought, since I was going back to their homeland, I would be surrounded by only Koreans . . . Boy were they ever wrong.

They had not been to Korea since 1986 and the Korea they knew did not have international restaurants, legions of foreigners or even American cars . . .

I guess they were sort of disappointed when I told them my girlfriend was from France and that my two best friends were from Russia and the Philippines.

The city of Seoul is truly international, more so than my hometown of Toronto. While Toronto has multiculturalism, the different ethnicities of people in Korea mingle much better, mostly out of our shared understanding of English. I had the honor of meeting a plethora of people from different cultures; whether my Irish, Indian and Chilean basketball teammates or my neighbors from other countries. Even though many people thought Canada was intriguing, I sort of felt like the country bumpkin who had yet to leave home.

It was a painful time when I had to depart Korea. It was the best time I had ever had and I am so proud of the international group of friends I had made. It has been two years since I left but I still think of the Hermit Kingdom every day. It has also been five years since I have lived in Canada but the feelings are just not the same.

Korea gave me the travel bug and someday I will return home to Canada. While Korea was one of the best experiences I have ever had, it was a temporary place, where people come and go. I realized that Canada is where my roots are and I am beginning to miss it more everyday.

The Hermit King

P.S. Does anyone know any cool restaurants in Warsaw?


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