I’ve had recurring dreams about returning to Seoul to live and work about twice a year for the past 5 years – ever since I left. I had another one last night. I’m beginning to wonder what Seoul must represent in my mind or subconcious in order for it to appear so frequently.
On the one hand, Korea has always been my ‘nervous breakdown back-up plan’ – a place where I could escape my life and remain financially solvent should everything get a bit too real. So it represents a safety net of some sorts, but also a potential symbol of ‘failure’ of life being too much.
In this dream I got a job back at my old school in my old neighbourhood of Seoul. Due to seniority I was finally able to get the ‘big room’ in the flat I would share with another teacher, but there still wasn’t a sink in the loo meaning we had to brush our teeth in the kitchen. Just like old times.
Seoul’s underground had become a Jetsons-like overground. Swirling around, above and below skyscrapers and mega malls. In my absence, Seoul had become a futuristic paradise.
I explained to the teachers that yes, I had come back – that London just hadn’t been working out the way I’d wanted to, that I could make a better salary here. Shocked and surprised they enquired about my salary. I told them. We all agreed that was too low.
As I walked around the city settling in and acclimatising myself I was lost in thought. How did I get here? Was it really right to take a break from the career I worked so hard for in London just to waste a year doing something I wasn’t passionate about at all? How did this happen?
As I resigned myself to my decision – the subway was attacked byaliens.
Flying saucers tore through the sky, leaving giant craters in the ground where their lazers struck.
Surveying the devastation of the city that was meant to be my back up plan…. I woke up.