If you know me well, you know that I haven’t always felt the most comfortable here in Korea. My first job was absolutely terrible, I’ve yet to have a good medical experience here, I’ve caught a few people taking up skirt photos of me (one resulting in the arrest of the man), I’ve caught a Peeping Tom filming me sleep and I was hit with a debilitating bout of depression that lasted several months. I honestly felt as though there was no kindness in Korea for quite some time.
While all of these circumstances were certainly trying, I have done my best to stay positive and understand that these situations could have happened anywhere in the world. They just coincidentally all happened within a two year time frame while living abroad which was extremely difficult to mentally process.
I’ve just come to term that the universe has thrown just about everything I can handle my way for the past few years. The only thing I can do is just walk away from the explosions like Steven Seagal does in all his movies.
Despite all the nonsense, one thing that really helped me feel okay living in Korea is the sense of community that exists here. As always, I believe life is all about balance and that my perception of it all can drastically affect my overall experience for the better or worse. For all the negative experiences I’ve had in the country, there are plenty more positive ones that I will choose to remember.
One of the best things that has happened to me here took place just a few days ago. I woke up with a sinking feeling in my gut that I was missing my wallet. I shot out of bed, searched through each of my purses and backpacks but couldn’t find it anywhere.
“Of course I lose my Alien Registration Card and American credit card the week before I apply for my New Zealand visa,” I thought. “As if I’m not stressed enough as it is!“
After channeling my inner Nancy Drew, I contacted all of the establishments I’d visited the weekend prior, to no avail. Call me naive or just a flat out idiot, but I hold a lot of trust in Koreans. At no point during this ordeal did I ever assume my credit card had been used (and it hadn’t), which makes me really glad that I didn’t cancel it right away.
The fact that my ARC has my address printed on the back gave me some hope. Koreans have a unique respect for other people’s belongings, so I kept telling myself that it was probably in the mail. After feeling an overwhelming amount of anxiety for a few days, I returned home from work to find a note from a local police station on the door.
I literally squealed with joy as I ran inside to text everyone I knew who would be able to help me with some of the translation. A Korean friend called and informed me that someone had turned my wallet into the police station and it was currently held at a nearby post office. YOU GUYS, SOMEONE FOUND MY WALLET AND ANONYMOUSLY RETURNED IT OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS. SIMPLY AMAZING.
The kindness in Korea in these types of situations is something that is difficult to find anywhere else. I’ve written about this before, and I’m sure I’ll write about it again. While I’d like to think this is something that could potentially happen in my home country, I would say the situation would be incredibly uncommon.
So, cheers to you, Korea… and thank you for the act of kindness, random human.