I am 28 years old. I am neither young nor old. I have lived enough to know something of life yet I know there is so much more that awaits me. Today I find myself at a crossroad. I’m sitting in my apartment alone and contemplating all that has become of my life. Just over a year ago, I quit my job, sold my car, paid off my debts and got on a plane headed to South Korea. I have told that part of my story before. The first few months here, I honestly hated it but something changed. South Africa, even though it is my home, doesn't feel like home so much anymore. As the months passed, I stopped feeling like I was taking a vacation from my life and this… living here in South Korea, it became my life. The walls that surround me now have become my first home… not my parents’ home but the first home I made for myself alone as my own person. Here I learnt that I was strong enough to survive on my own but I also learnt that being alone is not healthy. I have made friends here who in this short time have rooted themselves very firmly in my heart. In living this life far away from all we know, we have bonded and transcended the mere title of friendship. These amazing women have become my family and I love them dearly. They were at my side for my worst and at my side for my best and I honestly would do anything for them. They know who they are. Hint: they are poutine-munching, chain-smoking, pool-playing, soju-shooting, shopaholic, dancing, cussing, crazy-beautiful women. I am so grateful for every day I have had with them. In a few short weeks we will part ways but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I know that they will always be a part of my life... and I couldn't get rid of them even if I tried. Not that I’d try.
Korea has given me many gifts but the greatest gift that it has given me has to be love. When I came here, I had a boyfriend. I thought it would be a quick year and that I’d be going back to him and that we would possibly build a life together but things changed. The relationship was not what I had hoped it would be and perhaps I was the only one in it. It certainly felt that way a lot especially as I sat in front of my computer waiting for a Skype call that never came. When it came time to let go of that relationship, I was ready. I had tried to save it and had failed. There was no regret. I know I gave it my all. It hurt so much to see it fall apart but I had tried. I hope he’s okay. He’s a good guy, just not the one for me. I guess we were right for each other at that point in our lives but not right to stay in each other’s lives.
After that, I had just about given up. I never expected to find love… especially not in South Korea of all places but somehow, it found me. It was the 30 March 2013, a few months after my breakup. I was at a friend’s birthday party. I had gotten up to go get my coat which I had left at the other end of the bar. As I was on my way to retrieve it, I felt a hand on my arm so I looked up. There was this big mountain of a guy, wearing a black shirt that fit perfectly, with a sweet yet sexy grin and amazing blue eyes. He opened his mouth and with all his country boy charm told me I was beautiful and asked me for my name. I’m the kind of girl that sits in the corner and doesn't make eye contact. I’m a people watcher, not the center of attention. For the most part, I’m rather invisible but he saw me. I remember giving him my name and saying thank you before blushing like a complete idiot and running for my life. I have never been accused of being smooth. I literally ran away. That is how my love story began.
After that, I went back to my friends and excitedly told them that a cute guy told me I was beautiful. They asked what I was doing there with them and chased me away to go and talk to him. So I went back to where I met him but I didn't have the fortitude to talk to him so I just stood there are talked to my friend about this mystery guy. Turns out she knew him and he knew her. She worked her cupid magic and sometime later that night he talked to me again. I had ingested some ‘liquid bravery’ by then so I didn't run away this time. We spent that night talking, playing beer pong, dancing and he even carried me in those big strong arms and kissed me. He took my number and when I got home that night, sure enough he had messaged me. Another rarity for the invisible girl, guys do not message me.
We talked and talked and a week later, we had our first date. It was unbelievably adorable. He took the wrong bus and got lost but eventually we found each other. It’s been a few months now that we've been together. I was reluctant to be in a relationship at first because I had been hurt so many times but when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I was helpless. I was his. Everything about us, every moment we are together, it feels right. He and I seem to fit like we were made for each other. I’m not saying we are perfect, we've had some hurdles but we've gotten past them. We have never had any major misunderstandings and we have never even raised our voices to each other. There’s serenity in our relationship. I am most content snuggled up in his arms on the couch watching television without saying a word. I am completely comfortable in his presence. I have not felt invisible a day since I've met him, how can I when he looks at me like I’m the only girl in the world and tells me I’m beautiful. He makes me feel so special. Dear Lord, when he kisses me, I feel alive. He is a good man and I cherish him. Somewhere in the last few months, I went and fell in love with him. It was not a conscious decision. I only realised how much I loved him when I was given a reason to walk away and I couldn't. I needed him, I wanted him and I knew that I would fight for him and work at our relationship. But the clock is ticking and now I have just a matter of days left with him. I get on a plane back to South Africa soon and the decision about whether we stay together or part remains in his hands. I've made my decision. I will always choose him. I hope he chooses me. All I can do now is enjoy the time I have left in his arms and show him how much I love him.
The difference between my last relationship and this is that this time I’m willing to fight for it, over and over again if need be. I have found the man I want to spend my life with. He gives meaning to my existence, he completes me. When I look at him, I see everything I have ever wanted and needed. My heart yearns to be with him and to make him happy. Seeing his smile, his dimples, gives me a joy like I have never known before. I have been happier in these last few months than I have ever been in my life. As you read this, please take a moment to pray that this love story ends in happily ever after. I am at a crossroad in my life but I am not steering. I know the road I want to go down but only he can lead me there.