PERSONAL FILE: Back and There Again; It’s Sorta Like a Hobbit’s Tale, Right?

Jong-no District, Seoul

Jong-no District, Seoul

Everything happens so much. Yes, I know @horse_ebooks is fake, but I don’t care. When I sat down in this random coffee shop in Burien, Washington, to start fleshing out my thoughts on the transpirations of the past few weeks, that was the first quote to slide across my mental marquee. For those just tuning in, I am no longer in Korea. My last day of work at Daegu-Gyeongbuk English Village (DGEV) was Friday, February 27, the day before my twenty-fifth birthday. There were times over the past six months or so when I thought that day would never come and now, quite ironically, it feels a bit like the distant past given everything that’s happened since. Continue reading

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THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XVII: How to Leave a Country in 10 Days

2014-05-01 07.16.44Today 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.

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THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XII: Greetings from Bokhyeon-dong, and Other Good Tidings of Great Joy

Bokhyeon-dongIt’s been a while since I’ve posted anything in the Korea Kronicles. I say that while indulging in the slight vanity of thinking that someone might have noticed and, perhaps while noticing, cared, if only a little. That dearth of news specifically concerning my life and work in the Land of the Morning Calm has been primarily a result of there having been little to report. Since my last writing, my life in Korea has quickly settled into a very enjoyable if predictable routine, the heat and craziness of summer is becoming a comfortably distant memory, and, quite simply, things have stopped being new enough for me to care enough to write about them. My kids still say crazily, cutely, and outlandishly funny things from time to time and I’m still learning how to navigate this somewhat strange and definitely foreign culture; you know, same old same-old. As of this posting, I’ve been in Korea seven months and counting and now, at last, I have something new to report. Actually, quite a lot of somethings, so hold on to your butts. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XI: Moving On Up, and Other Recent Developments

The New ViewThis past weekend, my fellow teachers and I finally moved into our new dorms (see my new view at right). This is a move I’d been expecting since I first arrived in Korea. Before I even began working at Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village, I’d been told not to settle in too snugly in the teacher’s dormitory as, in April, we’d be moving into fancy new dorms that were secluded from the main campus and, by extension, from the children that overrun it five days out of the week. So April turned into July, big deal. The point is, we’ve moved, and the new place is spectacular. I mean, even the old dorms were way better than anything ORU was able to slap together or hold together with duct tape, but my new address is, minus a few to-be-expected bugs to be worked out, without a doubt the nicest dormitory I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART X: Seoul Patrol

At the PalaceWell, it’s happened you guys. I’ve been absolutely smitten by a city. Sorry, Daegu. A light load of kids this past week at the village meant all of the teachers got a day off work. Alyssa and I, we lucked out and got last Friday off. Hashtag three-day weekend, hashtag mini-vacation, hashtag awesome. You may not have read my post from a couple of weeks ago about the Week from Hell, but just know that I needed a break. Last week was a great opportunity to recharge and be reminded of the reasons why I like my job.

Most significantly, I only taught a grand total of seventeen classes—and bear in mind that my classes are only forty-five minutes long apiece. It was like, “WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF?!? LOL, JK.” Trust me, I can handle free time very well. On Thursday after we’d finished teaching, Alyssa and I hopped a cab from the village to Waegwan and, from there, took the Mugungwha-ho (slow train) to Dongdaegu Station, Daegu’s version of DFW for the national rail network.

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