Posts Tagged 'living in korea'

Back to Korea…

I have 3 days left on my vacation here in the states.  Man, it’s hard to go back to Korea.  I now see why folks advise against going home over the holidays.  On one hand, I have a significant other back at home, so it was sort of necessary for me to go home in the interests of the strength of the relationship (plus, you know, I missed the guy!), but on the other…man, it’s so tempting to just stay here.  Thankfully, I only have 3 months left, which shouldn’t be too bad.  It’ll go fast.

By the way – just reminding you guys – this blog is basically defunct at this point.  To see my new blog, go here.

Another one bites the dust…

So, it has now been a week since Lisa, one of the other foreigners on the island, left.  Other than Erin, who vaguely doesn’t count as she is married to a Korean and will be living here for a few years to come, at least, Lisa was the person who had been here the longest (well, of those still here), and so it was weird to see her leave.  She was sort of my mentor for my first month or so here, and she helped me through some pretty tough and/or aggravating situations, and I really owe a lot to her.  Without her advice, I probably would have left back in June or July, and then I would have been up shit creek without a paddle.

In my final week of college, people had already started packing up and going home.  When the first person on my hall (we were all friends, and had chosen to live together) came by my door to say she was leaving (though returning the next year, as she was a 2nd year), I had a weird moment in which I realized that in all likelihood, I would never see that person again, along with many people on the campus who I knew and considered at least acquaintances, if not friends.  It was very surreal, and when she said “Have a good summer!” I awkwardly replied with “Have a nice….life?”, because really, I felt that was the most appropriate answer.  Over the next year, I did go back to campus several times, as I spent the year wandering around the east coast, staying on friends’ couches and in my car, but I only saw a small selection of people.  Truly, in waving goodbye to those people as they moved out of their dorm rooms, I was waving goodbye to someone I wouldn’t ever see again, and even though I have moved around quite a bit in my life (I currently stand at 17 times in 7 years), that felt pretty weird.

So, when I waved goodbye to Lisa as I watched her be driven off to the bus station, I had that same feeling.  She mentioned that she may come back to Korea, but it wouldn’t be for probably a year, and definitely not until I will already be back in the states.  In theory, I could see her again if I were to go to Nova Scotia again, as I think she and her boyfriend will be living in Halifax, but it’s probably unlikely, especially given gas prices.  In fact, in all likelihood, I will never see *any* of the people I meet here again, once I leave, and that’s very weird to think about.  Sarah, one of the other Jindo foreigners, astutely said the other day that when you’re an expat, you get very used to saying goodbye to people, and that really couldn’t be more true.

So, here’s some photos from her going-away party (she’s the one in red).  Enjoy.

Lisa, if you’re reading this, we miss you!

Houston, we have heat…

Well, I have heating oil again.  I paid for $150 worth, which the supplied by pulling a gas hose up to my third floor apartment with a rope.  It will hopefully last me about 2 months.  My heater isn’t the world’s most efficient thing, so it tends to eat oil faster than one would assume, and once every other week or so, I forget to turn off the hot water button after I get out of the shower, which doesn’t help.

Anyway, I’m glad to have that creature comfort back.


Things have finally settled into a rut here, I think.  Not a bad rut, just sort of a pattern.  Two new teachers arrived a couple weeks ago, and between them they took over 4 of the schools I was previously working at (two schools I disliked, and two schools I liked, so it balanced out).  So, I’m now working at only 3 schools, which makes things far more enjoyable.  I am finally able to do lesson plans that can have multiple parts, something that was impossible when I was only seeing each class once every 2 weeks.  Now I visit two of my schools twice a week, and one of them once a week.  One of the schools lets me out after lunch, as I have no afternoon classes, and so that makes a huge difference in how I feel.  One of the things I tend to detest is being made to do useless things, and one of my schools makes me sit at my desk until exactly 5 no matter what, even if all the other teachers have gone home.  It frustrates me to no end, though I know that they are fully in their rights to do it, as per my contract.  In general though, things have greatly improved.  For awhile there, I was seriously considering bailing, but due to these recent changes and the plummeting of the US economy, I will be sticking around.

I am also now back in my old apartment building in a vastly improved apartment, now that it has been renovated.  I wish they had replaced the kitchen, and the heater doesn’t seem as good at heating my water as at the old place, but I am not about to complain.  I visit the dog I have “adopted” a few days a week, and it really does wonders for my mood.  I’ve started taking her for walks in the surrounding countryside, which she absolutely loves.  She spends her life on a 6 or 7 foot chain, and so being able to run around (her “leash” is about a 25 foot rope I bought) is clearly the highlight of her week.

In the last two or three weeks, the foreigner population of Jindo has risen from 5 to 9, an incredibly high number for somewhere this rural.  Sadly, one of them has her last day this Friday, and she was the main social organizer, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that.

I have withdrawn a bit recently, as well.  Now that I actually enjoy being in my apartment, I have been spending significantly more time here.  I used to go out with folks not only to socialize, but because I couldn’t stand being in my smelly, moldy apartment.  Now that it is actually pleasant to be here, I have been sticking around here far more, except to go for my walks and countryside drives.  I’m not lonely or anything, I just tend to sometimes go through phases where I don’t really enjoy the company of others, and I think this is just one of them.

I’m a bit sick.  Okay, a little more than a bit, but still well enough to work.  I could use one of my 6 remaining sick days on Monday, but unless I feel worse, I don’t think I will.  I figure that if I go into work when I’m at less than 100%, next time I take a sick day, they might take me a little more seriously.  Then again, maybe not.

So, anyway.  There will probably be more positive posts around here than there previously have been.  I think I have passed the “I hate Korea” stage and entered the “Meh.  It’s funny.” stage.


Just the thing I like to hear from my co-teacher:

Me:  “So, how is the move tomorrow going to work?”

Co-teacher:  “I have no idea.”

Me:  “Can you find out?”

Co-teacher:  “Maybe?”

Yet another banging-my-head-against-the-wall moment.

December 2019
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