As I sit here, celebrating my last birthday in Korea, I think back to my first one. I had just arrived in Korea a few weeks before my birthday. I was enjoying my time, but I was also extremely sad. This was going to be my first birthday without my family or my friends. Was anyone going to acknowledge that it was my day? As those who know me will attest, I adore any moment that is completely about me.
I went to work that day, not sure how I should approach the whole birthday thing. When I walked into the teachers' room, I was surprised with a purple (my favorite color) cake and smiling faces. Two of my co-workers had stopped at the bakery, picked up a cake, and made sure everyone was in our tiny office to sing to me. It was one of the most touching things I had ever experienced. These same people made sure that I was not alone on my birthday night. They insisted that everyone go out to dinner and celebrate my day. They also insisted I try soju for the first time, but that is a whole separate post. (Soju is an awful drink in Korea. I learned the hard way that we don't get along). I went home that night, extremely drunk, but knowing I was going to be okay (if I survived the hangover) in Korea. I knew I would never be alone and I knew that I was loved.
Today marks my last birthday in Korea. My birthday will be filled with friends and love. I am blessed that way. Korea has brought the most amazing people into my life. Not a single birthday has passed without being celebrated to the fullest. However, I can't help but think about next year. Will I continue to be blessed at having people in my life that make sure my day isn't forgotten? Will I be alone? Hell, where will I be living? Making friends has never been difficult for me, but I still fear the idea of being alone on my birthday. I'm sure every expat feels this way at some point. Hopefully, I will look back at this post and laugh at how worried I was because I will be surrounded by more great people.