In June of this year, after spending some time at home with my family on Kauaʻi, I returned to Seoul with one of my best friends, despite the MERS advisory for South Korea. We stayed in Gangnam for two weeks and during that time, I realized that had I not gone into Hawaiian Studies, I would have likely been living abroad. I’ve been adventurous, fiercely independent, and a traveler from a very young age, so with a knack for languages, I think I would’ve found myself living the better part of my life on foreign soil.
I don’t regret the path I chose for my life because it’s been a beautiful journey, but this latest trip to Seoul helped put to rest the “what if” of whether or not I could’ve “made it” living so far away from home. For some reason, this recent epiphany is sweet because after a lifetime spent in Hawaiʻi , it’s thanks to my life thus far that I’m truly able to recognize and celebrate the beauty of difference when I engage with new cultures.