Things I try to search for:
- Something cheesy done in the right way with the right cheese.
- English TV programming on my TV.
- Some corner of my neighborhood that feels cozy and like home.
Don't get me wrong here I am not trying to complain. Korea is still a wonderful and amazing place to be. But no matter what I have to accept the fact that I put myself in a place that feels like another universe.
It has been nearly 7 months since I first arrived here. Looking through that time I have been through so much.
At the hagwon I felt alienated despite the fact I was amongst 4 other foreigners and lived in Seoul. Back then my daily life was up and down, some days were stressful and full of angst, while other days were just fine. I was trying to understand Korea and its people but struggled to get down the basic relationship fundamentals with my Korean co teachers.
But I was strong and also brave enough to break my contract and resign. During this time I felt like I was heading towards salvation, but at the same time living a fragile life. I didn't know exactly my future and finances were growing thin.
However, I think because I kept confident and took chances that I was able to come out of that yucky situation and into a more defined and organized job.
Working and living in Sanbon has been pleasant. I work from 8:30 to 4:30 pm, and to me this feels like a regular schedule. We all know that I had a bit of an issue with at first living without a window but that got resolved.
So things have settled down here in Sanbon. But life keeps on chugging, and in my spare time I think of America and my family. I think about so many things and ask myself so many questions, that my thoughts seem to build up into a mountain.
The main questions I ask myself is what is my purpose here? Why did I come?
Actually, I know why I came here.
On New Year's Eve 2008 I made the new year resolution that I would go live and teach in Korea. It came to me clearly and didn't have any second thoughts. Through January to May I worked, planned and packed my way to Korea.
I came with so many ambitions:
- Explore Korea and Asia.
- Get to know the contemporary art scene.
- Understand my Korean boyfriend's culture, family and language.
- Grow into an adult.
Coming back to my main point (homesickness) I am reminded of what keeps me from opening my heart and mind to Korea.
Lately I have become apprehensive to do my usual blog reading. I feel that what I see on other's blogs are not helping me love my surroundings. In some of the blogs I see out there people are constantly pointing out what Korean people are doing that is negative and alarming. Examples include crime, severe punishment, poor publicity...etc. It is as if I am getting a picture of Korea I didn't really want to see.
So in some cases I am kind of denial right now. I don't want to see or hear that Korea is this place of corruption and folly. Through my rose-colored glasses I want to see the cultural and artistic sides of Korea. I want to see that which is beautiful juxtaposed next to a society still coming out of its shell.
I guess what has me bothered the most, is that I don't really understand why us foreigners tend to pluck out certain aspects of Korean society and put a spotlight on it. As if the Korean people were subjects in some grand lab experiment.
... Okay...starting to get a little ranty...sorry.
Homesickness + Alienation + Expensive Cheese = loony bin.
I think what I need to do is wake up out of what I believe is the "perfect" experience to have while abroad.
In my dreams I sometimes find myself back in America, doing something with my family. And while I am there I look around and become very confused. I ask myself why am I not in Korea? How long have I been away? When will I go back? I wake up perplexed, wondering just which world I am in,
All in all I have to say that I feel like I have reached a point in my stay here, one that has me baffled and enraptured. My wish is that it all climbs upward and wanders into a place where I see more than what meets the eye.