I retuned to Seoul for work, to finish off a project I started in April on my last trip. It took 5.5 months to get me back, and the clock on the 5.5 months started before I left the last time. Had I been successful earlier, I would be on my way home by now, forced to return because of the magic 180 day threshold over which tax implications become expensive.
I don’t believe in this project even though it will succeed, but that’s not all of why I don’t want to be here.
The COVID numbers here are 4-10 times what they were when I left. The country says they’re about to reach 70% vaccination and about to enter their “living with COVID” phase. The 70% are of people with at least one dose, and that is adults. The government will change their reporting to focus on hospitalizations and deaths instead of positive tests. Restrictions will relax.
South Korea is a great example of hygiene theatre being hand waiving – the mandate on hand sanitization is all for show, for example – but that is not all of why I do not want to be here.
I’m working face-to-face with colleagues from all over. They are smart, capable people. In the before times I would enjoy hanging out with them, getting to know them, and establishing relationships.
I’m reluctant to do that kind of hanging out in these times, but that isn’t all of why I don’t want to be here.
For the first time in longer than I can remember, I am homesick. My illness began before I left. I’ve put down roots, you see, and I’m not happy to leave them. I definitely do not want to rip them up.
UPDATE: this was a post I meant to send a week ago.