Last week, after nearly eight long months of waiting, I officially received my placement in South Korea. An opportunity that I began pursuing in April, the English Program in Korea, or EPIK, is a government program that allows native English speakers to live and work in South Korea for one year. And while I've remained committed to the process for the better part of this year, today is the first time that it truly feels real.
At the beginning of this month the placements began to roll out, and despite being told I was at the top of the list, for weeks I obsessed over my inbox to no avail. But finally, as I edited a photo last Friday night, the message popped up. "Tyler, I am very pleased to inform you that you have been placed in Daejeon, South Korea for the Spring semester". An initial relief and a burst of excitement drowned out the worry, but with it came an overwhelming impatience.
In the midst of the holiday rush, for the past six days I've found it difficult to enjoy this current life, opting instead to look forward. But today, when I woke up to another email regarding my placement, I realized just how precious and fleeting this life truly is.
As a boy in Central Texas, I wanted nothing more than to escape the flat and scorching landscape and nestle high in the Colorado mountains. I picked up snowboarding at an early age, and our annual trips to the mountains became a sort of spiritual pilgrimage. Unlike vacations to the beach, or to Six Flags, I felt a deep connection to the mountains and the unspoiled nature that surrounded them.
When the time came to choose a college, I chose one close to the mountains, and for my first job thereafter, I did the same. But after years of inching closer, this most recent move was the pinnacle.
For the past two months I've called Summit County home, and although at times I've become trapped in the routine, and lost sight of my surroundings, the reality is, I've made it, to the place I've always wanted to be. For the entirety of my adolescence, my teens, and my early adult life, I've looked west toward the mountains in wonder, and now I'm at the Summit.
Up here it's beautiful, it's bright, and the views are breathtaking. But when I look out from what is now my office, I'm filled with wonder toward a new frontier.
Still unsure of a departure date, just knowing there is one has inspired me to appreciate every breath of crisp mountain air. Watch the clouds, feel the sun, breathe the air, live.