If there is one title that Kayse Nation has won here in Korea, it’s P.I.C.: Partner in Crime.

When I met Kayse, she was by far one of the friends most different than myself. She was more conservative, she could drink me under the table (anyone can – one glass and I’m done), and she could stay out until sunrise. Not to say she’s a big partier, but she IS a social butterfly – something I’m not. She is also extremely close to her family, at the time often going to great lengths to see them every week and spend quality time with her young niece. I didn’t know anyone else my age who was that devoted to her family or had as many friends. But more than the above mentioned qualities, there was one thing that nobody can dispute about Kayse Nation: she is the most positive, happiest person you’ll ever meet.

The first year of living in Korea was somewhat of a blur. I was sick a lot, a little depressed, but constantly surrounded by tons of friends. Kate, Chaz, Meghan, Kyle, Callie, Aaron, Angel, Ashley, Kat, Kelly and of course Steven and Kayse. The second year brought new faces, Ian and Chelsea – but they quickly went home, too. But Kayse was with us the entire second year. Every weekend, she was with us. On more weekday evenings than not, she was with us. Late night trip to KSU? Call Kayse. Wanna go eat out? Call Kayse. Stay in for a full weekend of scary movies? Call Kayse. Any trip around town? Call Kayse. Kayse, Kayse, Kayse. She might as well have lived with us – in fact, she practically did. At least once a week the floor mats would be rolled out so Kayse could crash instead of hail a cab home. She did our dishes and made us coffee, because she was family and this was her second home. She wore my clothes, she did my hair, she went out late at night when I told Steven I was going nowhere. My dog chose her when we’d see which person she’d go to first. Kayse, Kayse, Kayse.

One thing that is hard for people to realize about us expats is that we change. We all change, but people put us in glass boxes and wait for us to come back and think we’ll be the same as we were. We all change, but I would suggest that we expats change more. Everything around us is different, and we change to adapt. Everything around has a new filter, and we change to get a better perspective. Everything around us is the opposite of everything we knew, and we change because we realize we were wrong.

I’ve never seen three people change more in one year than me, Steven, and Kayse.

I am pretty terrible with goodbyes. I usually tell people I’m going to their farewell party so they think they’ll see me again, then I skip it so that I never have to say goodbye. And I meant to try harder with my friends, but even though we saw this coming for months, I hardened my heart to this. Because it was Kayse, and it was Sasha, but really, it was just Kayse.

Who will we call for the scary movies and who will we call when we want dinner? Who will we call to go get a quick drink or try a new restaurant we saw in Seomyeon? Who will we call when we’re sick of each other and need someone else to hang out with?

For being the person who I knew the least walking into this adventure, it sure hurts to say goodbye, considering now she knows me more than anyone else right now. This life is hard, and today it gets much more lonely. I could barely look at her and focused all my energy on saying goodbye to my dog so I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to my friend.

We met with crazy taxi drivers, the meanest ajummas (who are saving the planet one baby at a time), raced dragon boats, fought frozen pipes, learned to surf, met buddhas and way-too-friendly subway people, as well as sweet old women who “don’t know English, but lots of Japanese,” we saw every dog in Busan, climbed to tea houses, talked about politics, avoided death from North Korea, experienced terrible house guests, and spent a year discussing existentialism.

Goodbye, Kayse. I am glad you asked to take Sasha home, because there’s no way you’ll be able to disappear from my life now. But I still hope America chews you up and spits you back into Korea.

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