In September 2009, I came to Sydney after impulsively quitting my job as an assistant in a law firm in South Korea. I was very aware of my daily life becoming more and more repetitive and it was a scary feeling. My plan was to do a Pilates teacher training course and go back to Korea to be a Pilates teacher. I had been attending Pilates classes every morning before work in South Korea and I was absolutely fascinated by the simple yet sophisticated movements that made me feel great.
This is where it all started.
In hindsight, I was very ignorant to my own body and mind at the time and I pushed myself too much which consequently led me to a few injuries. I didn’t know who to see or what to do in terms of therapy in regards to these injuries once in Australia. I ended up being introduced to remedial massage and osteopathy for my rehabilitation. I was very intrigued by the way they understood my body better than myself and I just loved the way they cared about my body (and me!). I was almost angry that I had never known such modalities earlier in my life while in South Korea!
It is an understatement for me to say that I enjoy the lifestyle here in Australia. It’s more than that, I had absolutely no idea how far I could expand myself, and I found myself having little to no influence on any of my life’s outcomes since leaving Korea. The original plans that I had almost always never worked out and as a result I have met many people along the way who have taught me the things I was previously never exposed to.
I was absolutely fascinated by the human body and its relationship with the mind and Spirit. In my free time I was observing different osteopaths in Sydney for fun as I was driven to understand what and how they were doing with patients during treatment sessions. During that whole time I never had the thought that I could become one of them. It was around this same time that I came to the sobering realisation that if I were to follow this passion of mine it would also mean that my life would move further away from my beloved family, whom I never intended to leave, and this was a very painful thought. With this in mind however, I was aware that my most rewarding outcomes I have experienced in life were born from the pure circumstances that I happened to stumble upon.
When I first came to Australia, I knew no one, zero people. For the first few months I suffered a lot from being unable to connect with people like I naturally did in Korea. I cried deeply many times. It’s not a nice feeling but it gave me the opportunity to observe people, the way they talk and interact. I was lucky enough to meet a woman who became a very good friend of mine who saw me as a human being, not a stranger or a tourist, not an Asian or another foreigner. The unconditional kindness and generosity she (along with a few others) shared with me have changed my life forever.
Speaking the same language is not enough for a connection to occur with another. Understanding the cultural and social cues (and the humour!) is not easy if you come from a different background. That is why today I am completely captivated by personal stories and the sincere moments that I share with people one-on-one. Every now and then I see international students and I feel for them, especially if they are Asians, and more specifically if they happen to be Koreans. :)
Studying Osteopathy in Lismore at SCU has been one of the greatest experiences I have had while in Australia. I remember the first time I visited the Lismore campus and I couldn’t believe how lush and green it was. I felt very comfortable being there in regards to the decision that I had made to come up to the Northern Rivers to study Osteopathy. I found myself being on my own again but I didn’t feel the isolation that I had felt during my initial time in Sydney. Students I met here always gave me lots of big hugs and lots of smiles regardless of all our different backgrounds. The group I was lucky enough to share the five years studying Osteopathy together have naturally become like a family to me which is nice.
The nature of Northern Rivers and the people here is very human, real and “down to Earth.” One of my favourite things about this region has to be the very special Lismore Tuesday Organic Farmer’s Market with its vibrant colour, the little kids running around naked, the beautiful, positive, healthy energy that the local producers and locals themselves share with everyone, and all under the magical spell of Bob’s classical guitar playing creating an atmosphere of vitality that sums up the Northern Rivers perfectly for me.