This is what I looked like when I first arrived in Korea, back in spring of 2008. At that time I was exhausted but also thrilled to start my Korean life. For the next four years I learned a lot about Korean culture, it's people and mostly myself. I've had two serious Korean boyfriends in that time, and they helped shape my experience here. So what am I getting at?
I'm leaving Korea.
I will write about how I came to this conclusion and what my plans are shortly. But first I want to say something to those who have been reading this blog from the beginning, or generally keep up with it. Thank you! Really, I was able to get through the tough times and enjoy my time in Korea so much more because I had this blog. Also being involved in the K-blogging community kept me from jumping ship even earlier. I know many of you appreciate what I write and do to represent Korean life, and so a part of me is sad that I will no longer be contributing after I leave. However, I think what I leave behind here on this blog will be helpful to other's in the future and certainly will remain as a great way for me to look back on life here.
With that said I also want to say something to those who might be saying, "I guess Joy has given up." "Korean life was just too hard for her anyways, she must not have tried hard enough to live here." When you live somewhere for four years, especially in another culture, you do spend a lot of time making it your home. There are folks in Korea who have been here a long time, made it a point to learn Korean, and have engulfed themselves in the culture by either marriage or other means. These are "lifers" and for a while there I thought I was one of them. But my life changed and wasn't really going down that track anymore (I'll write more on this later when I talk about why I have decided to leave). In short I want to say to those who might think I have "given up", that making a decision like this is not easy.
So why am I leaving and where am I going? I am going to detail the "why" part in a different post as I feel it would be good to give a better description of this then just, "It was time."
As for where I am going...well. I decided to go back home and go to Graduate school. After spending considerable time researching I have decided to go to Seattle University and attend the M.A. Ed. TESOL program. You see I decided that I need my American life back and I also want to advance in this field. Now, I'm no fool and know that the American job market is tough. I won't be guaranteed work after I graduate. Yet I am willing to relocate myself again to where job opportunities may be. If there is a job in Arizona that would hire me, I'll take it! Perhaps I'll even head out again and this time to Japan.
So from now on I'll still be sharing posts about my remaining time here in Korea (I'll be leaving at the end of my contract in February). Also I'll talk about my move and my time here in Korea. Once again thanks for following me through all these years or weeks...it's been a pleasure keeping this blog. So time to move on...and get going!