Two months. It’s been almost exactly two months since I moved to Korea. I still feel like a mess, I still don’t know what to do with myself half of the time, but, somehow, I think I’m getting my footing.
Working a 9-5 (or, more specifically, 8:30-4:30) job has helped me find a routine, but it’s also allowed me to find comfort where I should be challenging myself. I spend most days working, lesson planning, and then trying to unwind.
Honestly, work is exhausting. I always tell myself to do more but run out of energy. I rarely study Korean, my apartment is usually a mess, I don’t go out often or work out, and I’ve made a total of one video and three blog posts since being here (well, now 4 I guess). There are so many things I need to do with my time, and yet I have no idea where that time goes. Surely it doesn’t go towards the things I mean to accomplish.
But enough beating myself up, this should be about Korea. I live outside of the city, in a very cute, very new suburb, where I enjoy all of the amenities of the city but none of my friends. I need to see them more often. I do really like my neighbourhood, despite its distance from the city. And because it’s a suburb all of my students are well-off and therefore well-educated. Most of them (6th graders being exempt) treat me like a celebrity, because there are so few foreigners here. I try to maintain a friendly image, because I want to get to know each and every one of them, but I also need to portray myself as a figure of authority. Balance is difficult.
I tried learning names, but I’ve taken a break from that because the seating charts change often and it’s quite difficult to keep up with. I see each class once a week, and I teach 21 class a week, each with about 25 students, so you do the math.
I want to learn their names, though. I have an extra after-school class with the volleyball team twice a week, and I’ve really enjoyed that more personal atmosphere. Those 9 girls I know by name and attitude, and let me tell you they are way different in those small classes than when in a full classroom.
I’ve lost weight since being here, about 10 pounds, but I haven’t tried to. That never happens to me, especially since I’ve had more grains and red meat in my diet than ever before. I’m not complaining, though, I just hope it doesn’t balance back out when my body adjusts. I’ll try to keep up the progress, I feel more confident than ever before.
Really, every day here is another day that someone calls me pretty, which is so not what I was expecting. Koreans are known for being very shallow, and that stereotype has rung true. Being overweight, I expected to feel quite low, but between my foreigner status and bleach blonde hair, and their friendly dispositions, I am always complimented here. I think I’m starting to believe them.
Life is still crazy here, but I’m enjoying it a lot. I’ve made some wonderful friends, people help me whenever I ask, and my job is challenging yet enjoyable. I hope I find my rhythm with the things I need to do outside of work, but I also hope I don’t stop exploring. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.