This last year has been filled with ups and downs, adventures and good times with friends. When 2012 started I was mostly focused on the upcoming school year moving to 2nd grade. I was busy with planning lessons and considering the school year ahead as a team leader. At the same time I was single and getting accustomed to this new life style. As 2012 grew on I learned some important lessons and some good times.
I am going to take you through the last full year I experienced here in Korea, and I will do this by showcasing it through the seasons.
In February I went back home to Florida and visited family. I was able to get away from the cold of Seoul and enter the warmth and sunny skies of South Florida.
I think that visit helped me understand how really far away I am from them by living here in Korea. I never had a family member visit me here and so I think I started to wonder if it was worth living so far away. The almost two weeks I had was a good time spent with my folks, but mostly I felt disconnected from everyone.
I didn't decide at that time to leave Korea, but I can see now that a "seed" was planted. As you can see I got to visit Washington D.C. and I have to say it was a lifetime experience. In fact my absence from America has made me become more fond of my country. I'm looking forward to heading back and being involved in the community, culture and history of where I live. I'm also looking forward to "reverse culture shock". But, let's move on.
When I got back to Korea it felt like I needed to continue to try and discover what this place has to offer. As spring unfolded I enjoyed the cherry blossoms and other blooms around town.
Springtime for me was when I realized it's okay to be a single gal. I picked myself up and headed out to explore areas by myself. I also enjoyed the spectacular exhibit of Do Ho Suh's work at the Leeum Samsung Museum.
Not to mention the fantastic little Design museum I found in Hongdae, which gave me inspiration for my own artwork.
Spring, it seemed was a time for me to get out and explore and really spread my wings here in Korea. I went to Yeoju and Silleuksa for a ceramics festival, and found myself sitting atop a rock near a river reflecting on all that has transpired. Perhaps, this is where the "seed" for leaving Korea started to sprout. As I felt inside a growing sense that it was time to move on from Korea.
A lot of people complain it gets too hot and muggy here in the summer. I for one don't mind it and love the summer season here. The bugs buzzz and the smells of green leaves pass throughout the air. It also means I can explore further out in Korea without thinking about freezing my butt off.
Summer started with finishing up a tumultuous first semester at my school. Let's just say I've come to appreciate those in managerial postions after being a team leader. Despite that I still love teaching and enriching my student's lives.
It was around the end of July when I made my final decision to leave Korea. As I ventured to Damyang for a taste of a bamboo forest, I brought with me the thoughts that this could possibly be my last adventure in Korea. All by myself out there in small-town Korea I was able to absorb this country's culture and people. I've always felt I was fortunate to visit the countryside as much as I did when I was with my ex, and so once again felt glad to be there.
I would say fall started on Chuseok, which coincided with my birthday. When you think about it, that makes for a really magical year. I got out and ventured into the crowds at the Namsangol Hanok Village. I didn't mind the crowds and found everyone to be in a festive mood.
This is also when I enjoyed the company of others and shared memories in Korea. Friends come and go in Korea, but you learn to make ones that you feel will stick around. Unfortunately, I'm now becoming that friend who leaves. Sorry, everyone!
Once the end of October comes around the air starts to get cooler and you know winter is heading your way. I took to Hongdae and ventured into a newer part (Hapjeong). Here I was reminded of Korea's hip culture that never ceases to be edgy and fun.
I'll miss not walking through these sorts of neighborhoods again, and noting what changes have incurred.
But October also brought upon the KOTESOL Conference, where I discovered that the TESOL profession is certainly for me. It was here that I hoped to end up a lecturer someday sharing my expertise advice on teaching language students. Someday...
Let's see...in November I announced that I was leaving Korea and it meant that I was serious. I bought my plane ticket and started making all my plans to exit this country. It was also a busy time at work and with more team leader snafu's, but I made it through. Again more life lessons to bring with me back home.
It's winter now of course, and as you can see not too much has been happening. I'm kind of keeping it that way as I need to save money for my move. But that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed time with friends and a few adventures here and there. I am hoping to get to a few museums and exhibits before I go, just wishing the weather would cooperate a little.
But as this is my last winter in Korea I can say I'm ready to say goodbye to the snow and freezing temps.
As this winter will bleed into next year's spring, I'll be packing up my suitcases and heading off into the sunset. After writing about what happened this year I can't help but see how enriching and full it was. Even though I will be a busy student back home I hope to fill my time with adventures and discoveries.
Thank you 2012 and I can't wait for 2013. Good luck everyone in the year of the Snake!