Anyeong Haseyo! Guess who’s back from Europe? Look what I did:
that, AND I wrote like 400 more words on my novel (coming in 2035 – a labor of agonizing love and chock full o’ genius), AND kept constantly reminding my old bosom buddy Hayes that living in Korea is way harder than living in France and that he should move that bottle of wine closer to the couch so I don’t have to get up because I’m on vacation and I’ve been living in Korea. Oh, and did he think he could drive me to the store for more wine? Because I started drinking wine at 11 am and might run out before dinner. Whatever Hayes. Shut up. I usually live in Korea. For like four months now I usually live in Korea. My life is hard and burdened and totally cool. So totally cooler than your stupid life. In Europe. Which I also secretly want.
Pretty much any complaint/observation Hayes made about his new life situation elicited the same knee-jerk response from me: It is harder to live in Korea than France, therefore your discomfort is invalid and I’m better than you.
I can’t decide if this illustrates my natural fondness of pissing contests or some reaction that occurs when you encounter another American abroad. But I think there is a kind of currency to where one lives, when one chooses to live abroad. I have made a graph to illustrate my point. (Erins = Units of Cool. Look it up.)
So, supposing you’re an English-speaking American like myself, living in the States starts you out at 0. Then, as you get further away from other English-speaking Americans, and further from what one might consider a “safe” place with few repulsive diseases or the threat of frostbite/trench foot, the more Erins you acquire. So like, the most socially impressive place you can live is, short of the moon, on a remote volcanic island, unpopulated save for plague-harboring rodents which you are forced to hunt and eat.
Of course this is partially in jest, but there’s something to studying the question Why Do We Go Where We Go? And why do I think Cappadocia > Minnesota? Or Korea > France? Look deeper into your black, withered hearts, Readers, and tell me that there isn’t a sliver of you that doesn’t travel for bragging rights. That doesn’t look forward to that first conversation whenever you might make it back home to say to some stranger, “Oh, I’ve just been spending the last year abroad. In Asia. What have you done lately?”