Following footsteps, in reverse

Seoul from Namsan

Decades ago, my parents left Korea and immigrated to the United States. They were 30 years old, had no family in the US, and left almost everything behind in the country where they had grown up.

I have always respected the courage they had and wondered if I could hypothetically do the same. When I turned 30, I was working at PUMA in charge of global marketing operations as well as digital marketing, living in a Boston suburb with a top-rated school system, and making a decent salary (but shoveling a LOT of snow). I was settled and to follow in my parents’ footsteps seemed infeasible and inadvisable for the path that I appeared to be on.

But now, a half-century later, I have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my parents. It just happens to be walking back the way they came, as I’m moving to Seoul.

Adios, Austin

Austin panorama

I moved to Austin four years ago to grow a company and it was acquired earlier this year.

The skyline has changed a bit since I’ve been here and it’s already very different from four months ago when the picture above was taken.

Thinking about the four years I spent in Austin, here’s what I’ll

Miss:

  • the people. For the most part, they are still laid back and a little bit weird. This is awesome and refreshing, especially when engaging with the service industry.
  • the food. I’m not a foodie, so my favorites include Tacodeli, Home Slice, and Rudy’s. Still surprised that I came to accept buying BBQ at a gas station.
  • the convenience. Austin is small and easy to get around. I only put 6,000 miles on my car a year. The traffic lights go flashing red at night. 10 – 15 minutes to get anywhere unless it’s rush hour.

Gladly leave behind:

  • the allergies. No one tells you that there’s a different type of nature to make you sneeze, cough, and losing hearing in an ear, all year long.
  • the bugs. Scorpions belong in cartoons, not in your sink. Roaches that live in trees and attack from above. Mosquitoes that are everywhere and draw blood like little piranhas. In fact, I just killed one on this airplane.
  • the heat. Although everyone gets used to it after a while, it’s still unpleasant to bake like a chicken tender under a heat lamp every time you walk outside from May through November.

More next week. But for the last week I’m here, I’ll enjoy some breakfast tacos, barbecue, and local brews.