Sunday, January 6, 2008

깨달음, or realization.

first, i was brushing my teeth before bed and i realized i hadn't changed out of my PJs all day. now THAT's a good day. =)

more importantly, what i've been realizing more and more lately (sometimes painfully) is that i don't think i came to korea to travel, or "see the world", or become more worldly/well-travelled. i know that sounds kindof, well, DUMB considering i decided to forego a year of law school and basically put my friendships and everything that was comfortable and known to me on hold for a year. but i really don't think i came to korea to know korea better either. let me explain.

i recently had the opportunity to travel through taipei (taiwan), hong kong (china), and shanghai (china) for 10 days in january and when push came to shove i decided there were more productive uses of my time and (meager) savings/earnings. i struggled with this decision penduluming between "of course i should go and make the most of my time in this hemisphere, isn't that one of the things i really wanted to do? travel asia?" and "i should stay in korea and really plan out my winter lectures and rest". practically speaking, i know i made the right decision (i would've left this thursday 1/10 and returned 1/20 the day before my 2 week lectures started).

but did i make the right decision goals-wise? WHY did i come to korea? WHAT am i doing here? reading some of my fellow Programmers' blogs today, a few of them were blatantly putting it out there, that they had pretty narrow cultural upbringings and the reason they did this program WAS, in fact, to see the world and experience many new cultures and travel as much as they could. admittedly, i now think that summer 2005 that i spent in europe was my "time to travel". i travelled all but one weekend out of geneva (switzerland) where i was studying abroad and spent time in at least 5 countries (germany, france, italy, switzerland, spain, monaco) and 1 principality. plus i returned to the states for 2 days before flying back to germany for an international catholic youth festival. and although i didn't feel it at the time, my next semester at school my body showed the effects of flitting around the euro-continent nonstop.

if not to travel, then why did i come to korea? to teach? one look at my resume will tell you i love children and teaching and esl so it might seem as though i came to korea to further my career path. but that's not true. i don't want to teach children. i don't want to teach esl. i'm going to law school in july. WHY AM I HERE? hmm, maybe to have my last hurrahs? a year of crazy and wild fun before the first year of law school - what a current law school student terms as the "amistad". well, this is certainly NOT the means to achieve THAT end.

so why am i here? i know one of the reasons i always cited when explaining my decision was to "grow up"-to become more independent. to learn to live on my own, without the immediate support i am familiar with and have no problem turning to when things get a little rough. well, let me be the first to tell you, when you embark on an adventure halfway across the world from everything you know and love, you're just SCREAMING for all the support, love, and prayers you can get from the people who know you the most/best. the FIRST thing you DO (ok, the first thing I did), is reach back for ALL the reassurance and "don't worry, you'll make it out alive" you can get.

moreover, the first step on a journey anywhere is the journey to yourself right? or did i just read that somewhere? in any case, i just found this in an old CAC email (oh, orientation and CAC memories...)

This probably sounds a little silly but my greatest motivation for coming to Korea on this grant is to grow up. I wanted to be abroad away from my immediate family and friends to learn about independence and trying to make it (sort of) on my own. I've been on this trying to get out of my comfort zone since graduating from high school. I purposely chose a college that was far from home and that I didn't know anyone else in my class. I want this experience to be one where I can learn to be myself and to adjust and learn to live with others who are different from me. I figure I have so many things to learn about dealing with myself and others during this year and it'll be an experience that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. I thought Korea would be good place to try to do all this so that I could learn about my ethnic heritage also.

so there you have it. i came to korea to "grow up". and so i will devote myself to the task of "growing up," which has fallen by the wayside during orientation and my 4 months of teaching, during break and try to remind myself of it throughout my last 6 months here. please feel free to call me out on super-negative thinking/attitudes and acting immature about korea because i need the help. i know i haven't really been working on the "growing up"ness of my aspirations just by recalling all the negative and hateful entries/comments/remarks i've made about korea and koreans lately.

i need to breathe and start over. FRESH NEW LOOK. i said it msyelf, i want to adjust and learn to live with ppl who are different from me. i sooooo lost sight of that. let's try again, shall we? =T

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