The air has become hot and heavy, rainstorms are frequent and monster mosquitoes seem to be everywhere I go. That means the first semester has ended and two weeks of vacation are just around the corner. As I look back on the past five months, I can’t decide if my first semester teaching in Korea flew by or dragged on at a snail’s pace. There are times when it feels like only yesterday I stepped off that incredibly long flight on that bitterly cold day in Incheon, not having any idea what I was getting myself into. Then there are times when it feels like I’ve been here forever. Either way, I’ve learned a lot since arriving in February, both about myself and Korea. Here are a few brief and random thoughts on the experience so far:
Living and working in Korea has been much more challenging than I’d anticipated. So much so that I’ll admit there have been days I’ve wondered how I’ll make it through a year here.
This whole experience has been nothing like I imagined it would be. It seems that all EFL teachers’ experiences here greatly differ depending on where they’ve been placed (big city versus rural town) and how they are treated by their school and co–teacher. I have to remind myself not to compare my situation to those of others. I’m where I am for a reason, and that reason may not have shown its face yet.
My co–teacher thinks I’m strange for not eating rice at least once per day, every single day. However, I am suddenly finding that I miss it if I go several days without it.
I will never get used to having cockroaches as roommates.
My students get very excited when they see me outside of school (well, most of them anyway), and that makes me happy.
When I hear a Korean say maybe I now know that means yes.
I still need to work on not being a perfectionist. I find myself not posting on this blog as often as I’d like because I’m worried about making each post perfect, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy for that after a long day at school. Clearly, they’re not perfect anyway. Nothing is so why worry about it?
The homesickness that I thought would go away after a month of arriving is still lingering, heavily. I feel that has something to do with living in a small town, which can be quite isolating at times. That being said, I still can’t say I would rather have been placed in a large city.
Learning foreign languages is not my forte. I try to study at least a little Korean everyday, and it’s just not sticking (the speaking part, at least). It’s amazing how much you can still manage to communicate with someone even if you don’t speak the same language, however.
I really do love kimchi. I think I need to learn how to make it for when I return to the States.
That’s all for now. This week and next I am busy teaching summer camp, which tends to be more relaxed than regular classes (more games and less grammar), and then I have a full two weeks off. I am very excited, as David will be visiting from Denver and we’ll be exploring the eastern coast of South Korea, as well as Jeju Island.