It’s a beautiful Sunday here in Seoul. People are out and about with their friends and families, but I’m not. I’m sat in a café near my apartment. I’ve been here for three hours, and I’ll probably spend the rest of the afternoon here too. I need to recharge after a busy couple of weeks and waking up sick this morning, but I can’t help but be plagued a little by a feeling of guilt.
I feel guilty every day. I don’t message my family or boyfriend or friends enough. I don’t share enough pictures with them. I don’t tweet enough. I post to Instagram too much. I spend too much money. I eat out too much. Guilt is a familiar feeling; in fact, I wouldn’t really be myself if I didn’t feel a little bit guilty about most things I do. I’m not a person who can live unapologetically, and I’ll readily admit it.
And then there is what I call the expat guilt. It’s the guilt experienced primarily by those who move abroad, but I’ve also felt it living in another city in the UK. The guilt that you’re not out exploring your new area. That you’re not sharing your every move with your family/partner. That you don’t speak the language, nor are you making enough effort to learn it. You’re not going to that must-see museum because you think it’ll be boring. You’re missing that annual festival in favour of laying in bed. You’re eating a McDonald’s burger instead of the local food.
You’re sat in a coffee shop on a sunny Sunday afternoon instead of being outside enjoying the weather before work starts again tomorrow.
I can’t escape it, no matter how much I try. But I’m trying to not feel so bad about it. Today I was invited to go along with fellow Korea-blogger Fii from Little Miss Fii to go to a desserts fair and I was all up for it. That was, until I woke up with a stinking cold this morning and all I wanted to do was bring my laptop to a coffee shop and spend hours on the internet writing, watching stupid videos and getting lost in the depths of social media. So I did, and despite feeling better, I’m also feeling bad about it.
It’s hard to not feel guilty about having a ‘day off’ when there are so many exciting things going on and so many places I have yet explore in Seoul and the wider area. But I think that constantly going, going, going is what has made me sick three times in as many months, so an off day isn’t going to hurt me right now. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s OK to have a day where I’m not doing anything. Seoul is my home now; would I make sure I was doing something all day, every day back in the UK? Definitely not! And I don’t need to do it here.
So here’s to living in a new place, and still being a lazy shit when I want to be! Because I have all the time in the world to be out exploring, but sometimes I need to use that time for myself…and funny cat videos.