[This story continues from Christmas gift from Korea.]
It was long way to make a decision to go studying abroad for half a year.
I needed a change; change from my life routine.
I was chosen to a student head of English literature faculty in the beginning of 2001. As a result, I was extremely busy on social activities; arranging meeting, preparing group activities, festival, small seminar and so on.
Literally, when I entered the gate of our University, I started to wave everywhere to say hello to acquaintances.
One of my friend at that time told me that it's tiring to go out with me in the campus because half of time I spent on the road to say hello with people.
It's funny how different life I have now thinking of those time.
I was an extreme social person. My life revolved with plans with people. I barely could find myself in those time.
It usually started with cell phone ringing, friends asked me when I would come to class, and then lunch plan with other group of friends and afternoon class with group of friends and after-class drinking social meeting, which lasted past midnight.
I maintained this kind of life over 6 months at the age of 20 and all of sudden I asked simple question to myself.
'What do I gain from these? What are these all for?'
Since this question resided in my head, I couldn't be a same entertaining person as I used to be.
I felt like I was a clown in a crazy show.
I shared these questions with somewhat close friends at that time. Nobody! No one could understand me.
They even looked perplexed why I even question about what I do.
I felt something was very wrong. I devoted my time and energy to so-called "friends" and they didn't even try to understand what I was going through. Yes, it wasn't visual for them, but to me, it was critical to find an answer.
I started to go to library faithfully in September 2001.
I tried to eat lunch by myself, I tried to go movie theater alone.
I was sitting on a campus bench in between classes with cheap vending machine coffee.
I went to English conversation classes in the evening instead of joining drinking club.
I started to read biographies and life essays enthusiastically.
One day, "used-to-be" my dear friend came to me and asked why I don't get along with them anymore.
I didn't need to give her a long answer. I answered, " I just need to finish this book."
Strangely I felt good about myself. 'Yeah! This is what I want so respect me instead of gossiping me.'
To tell you the truth, I didn't mind if they would chew me on every table they sit, stab my back with anyone they meet.
I didn't care.
I guess that was the beginning of my life experiment.
An experiment of 'Solitary in a life'
I never thought I could enjoy being alone without friends around.
I've never seen anyone in my life, who actually satisfied their own time.
Where I grew up, people liked to gather with this reason and that reason. Sometimes they didn't have any reason to gather but just gathered and made it reason for...mostly gossiping.
I was surprised myself how I could be ok with their gossip on me.
I thought I would be scared of their eyes and their voices.
But I realized I had strong backup, my books.
Books guided me a place to be.
Books told me how human being can do great things.
Books comforted me my lonesome.
It was my best friend on the journey of my life.
[to be continued..]