Today is February 25, 2015. That means it has been two years to the day since I first set foot on Korean soil. It also means that in exactly ten days, I will board a plane at Incheon International Airport and depart Korea for what will possibly be the last time. I wouldn’t dare say I’ll never return to this country because who the hell knows? If you had told me five years ago that I’d spend two years of my life in South Korea before I’d turned 25 years old, I’d have probably said you were crazy. Even so, it will be a noteworthy milestone–the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. In three days, I will have my last day at work and will say goodbye to students at the English camp for the last time. My apartment is currently full of furniture and items that I no longer own because I’ve sold them to other expats at work who will take possession of them when I leave Daegu next week. What is essentially my entire life is already packed into two rolling suitcases in preparation for my flight next week.
When I leave Korea, I will spend a month in Seattle in a period of rest and reflection. I’ve never been to Seattle but I’ve wanted to visit for the longest time and I can’t think of a better place to spend a few weeks charting my course for the future than a cool city where I am utterly free of any obligations aside from eating, sleeping, and breathing. And, believe me when I say that I desperately need it. The past six months in particular have not been easy, for a variety of reasons. Living and working in Korea has been a fun and enriching experience, but it’s been no cakewalk. I’ve enjoyed the past year or so on the whole, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been happy at or felt enriched by my job and that is one thing in particular that I will not miss about Korea. Not even a little bit.
Before you say anything, yes, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. Thank you, Captain Obvious. My last post was written the day before my twenty-fourth birthday (not counting the filler post I wrote in April of last year because I felt guilty about not having written anything for almost two months) and, since then, I’ve been in an interesting place mentally, spiritually, so I felt a long hiatus from putting my thoughts down in written form was in order, at least until they could be mustered into some sort of coherence anyway. Well, that time has come. I’m back, bitches.
As of this moment, I’m less than six weeks away from the end of my teaching contract and, ergo, will soon be turning the final page in this chapter of my life and putting the final period at the end of the Korea Kronicles. That’s right, I am leaving Korea. For now, anyway. Admittedly, I spent most of the past year operating under the assumption that I would simply find new employment in this country once my job at the English camp had run its course. However, when I was home in Oklahoma for Christmas and the New Year a few weeks ago, the realization dawned on me that I currently have no desire whatsoever to remain in Korea. Given my current attitude both toward Korea in general and the ESL industry here in particular, staying on for another stint would be profoundly unwise. Continue reading
Sooner or later, every adventure becomes mundane. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened for me, but that particular milestone has long since appeared from around the curve and zoomed past the car window undetected. It’s springtime in Korea and it’s been over fourteen months since I moved here, but I’m honestly not even counting up anymore. I’m counting down: ten months to go. That’s an odd feeling. Tabulating the time was for a long time an integral part of my life here. At first it was counting the days. Later, I started counting the weeks and, later still, the months. I counted the time that had passed since major milestones like teaching my first class, moving to an apartment in the city, or going to Seoul for the first time. I counted the time remaining until I had to make a decision about what I was going to do: leave after a year or stay for another? All of that is over, though. The important decisions have all been made and most of the meaningful milestones have been passed. All that’s left at this point is let this year run its course and begin making preparations for what will come next. Continue reading