By Shelton Bumgarner

I arrived in South Korea for the first time on July 23, 2004, at the tender age of 31. I had no idea of the adventures that awaited me for the next five or so years as I lived in the Land of the Morning Calm as an expat.

Now, as I approach 50, I find myself thinking back about how significant my time in South Korea was in my life overall. I learned a lot about myself, specifically that I'm far more creative than I ever imagined. Had I managed to stay in South Korea longer, I might have become something of an expat rock star.

However, it was not to be. Things did not work out and I came home, thinking I would never return to South Korea. And, yet, I find myself missing Seoul and wondering if anyone remembers me. I was something of a larger-than-life character while I was there. I also wonder if any of the students I taught English to remember me as well.

These days, I find myself drawing upon my time in South Korea as I continue to struggle to write my first novel. It's a lot of fun, but I really need to finish it one way or another. I'm not going to live forever and getting it published in the first place would be a lot like winning the lottery.

The key thing about approaching 50 is you really begin to take stock of your life. You realize how you have a limited amount of time on God's green earth and if you do not squeeze what you can out of your remaining days, you may shuffle off this mortal coil with a lot of regrets.

As such, I hope to return to South Korea one last time. I don't know when I will do it ― or if I will ever do it ― but it's something I dream about a lot these days. It's been so long since I was in South Korea that I'm sure much has changed. Korea is very dynamic, changing on a day-to-day basis, and the COVID-19 pandemic probably only accelerated such change.

Yet, despite all that, I hope to return to South Korea for a short visit at some point between now and the 20th anniversary of my first arrival. It will be a lot of fun to see my old stomping grounds and maybe run into a Korean or two I knew back in the day. We'll see I guess. While there's life, there's hope.


Shelton Bumgarner (migukin@gmail.com) was the publisher of the expat journal, ROKon Magazine, and a DJ at Nori Bar in Sinchon 2006-2007.



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Angst for the memories

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29.09.2022
By Shelton Bumgarner

I arrived in South Korea for the first time on July 23, 2004, at the tender age of 31. I had no idea of the adventures that awaited me for the next five or so years as I lived in the Land of the Morning Calm as an expat.

Now, as I approach 50, I find myself thinking back about how significant my time in South Korea was in my life overall. I learned a lot about myself, specifically that I'm far more creative than I ever imagined. Had I managed to stay in South Korea longer, I might have become something of an expat rock star.

However, it was........

© The Korea Times


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