Late Night Reflections
Another one of those nights....where sleep is impossible to find and your mind paces endlessly. Hopefully melatonin will be the answer to the occasional insomnia that seems to afflict every foreigner. All I can seem to think about is how insane it is that I am in South Korea. Can someone tell me again how this came to be? How this recent citizen of little Edmonds, WA (average age 65) is in Pyongtaek, spreading the word of English? After two months I still get hit with random waves of shock that I am half way around the world, teaching English in the "land of the morning calm." I find it so entertaining asking myself "seriously, what the hell am I doing here?" I also find it extremely entertaining thinking about how friends and family feel about the fact that I am in South Korea. Do they think I am out of my gord to make a decision like this? Would they avoid this peninsula like avain flu? Do they envy my experiences in this strange land? Questions that provoke many thoughts of mine.
Last weekend I spent some time with one teacher from a different school named Jonathan. He is coming to the close of his second year in Korea, and his Korean wife is nearing the end of her third trimester to yield their first child together. I didn't ask him, but I wonder if he came to this country on the similar whim that I did, just looking for the next bag of tricks, the next barrel of monkeys. What a sobering thought....one minute your just a college graduate looking to perhaps extend the college lifestyle a little longer by teaching in foreign country...and the next you are married to a Korean wife with a bun in the oven.
Sometimes I feel like I am being swallowed alive and completely intact by my Korean life. Specifically devoured by the teaching portion of it at least. I am coming very close to perfecting a routine and developing decent skill in class room instruction and management, but still there are periods of full out mental battery and total stimulus overload. Trying to plan for eight consecutive classes while drowning in a neverending string of Korean words from the conversations around me is quite a task. My ipod has become an extension of my body in how much I use it. I have to say that Jimi Hendrix thus far has been most effective in blocking the outside noise pollution. Now do not think that I am getting discouraged. The extreme difficulty in this job has provided me with perhaps the most challenging experience of my life. The kind of challenge that absolutely demands personal growth. I also am drawn to and thrive off people or experiences with extreme natures....they are simply more interesting.
When I get bored, especially late at night and there are not enough sheep to count, I think about the future. I try and determine how this experience will fit into the grand scheme, how my time in this place will impact what happens down the line in my life. Will it have a concrete impact? Should I even think about an experience in terms of how it will better my future or how much I will gain from it? These questions plague me because like many peers my age, I still really don't know what I want to be. Up till now I have just operated with a quiet confidence that I will simply discover my calling when it presents itself to me. Maybe worrying about that rather large ball of wax is just unproductive at this exact point in time. (I apologize for the random and disjointed nature of this entry) I know how my future will be impacted by this experience in one facet at least, and thats with the people I have met. Whether they become distant acquaintances, or life long friends, I know that one far off day there will be reunions over some beverages (alcoholic or non), and these times will be looked back on with a fierce zeal, admiration, and longing. Im out.
ps. After researching on google, I have realized that I lost a wager on the fact that South Korea is the second most expensive country in the world to live in....second only to Japan. Someone please supply me with contradictory information so that I don't have to pound a pint of Soju.