Looking Back – Walking Around Cheongju

Various Shots of Cheongju, Autumn 2014

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Reflections On Moving Home

So, I have been home since January now. Nearly 6 months. Half a year. We are fast approaching a year since I left Korea.  And I decided it was time for me to reflect on this. What do I think, having been out of ESL for a year now? What are my future plans?

I don’t think it is a secret to anyone that since leaving the world of ESL I haven’t coped with life in the West that well. Although I loved being in Canada, I couldn’t work there so that was never going to be a long term solution. Montreal is a fantastic place to be (Marta is currently back there, and although it isn’t in the best of circumstances, even she can’t deny it is a great place). The people I met in Canada were friendly and treated me well. But most importantly – it wasn’t “home”.

The biggest feeling I have had since leaving Korea all those months ago is one of not really belonging anymore. Home, or what was once home, doesn’t feel like it for me. At first, I assumed it was simply reverse culture-shock.. But after a year, and still feeling the same, I know that isn’t the case. I am a traveler at heart and being at home provides me with no adventure. I get up everyday, like many, and go through the motions. But I have seen a glimpse of something different and now there is no going back. I took the red pill, and leapt down the rabbit hole.

red-pill

But in doing so, I discovered something wonderful. I discovered friends I never would have met otherwise who mean the world to me now. I discovered a way of doing a job that brings you joy everyday. A job that is always different, challenging but extremely rewarding. A way of life that is unique and a wonderful community of people to share that with. Given my chance to do the last year over, I wouldn’t change much. But if I had to make one change, it would be never leaving the world of ESL.

I miss it everyday, and though I enjoy my job now, it isn’t anywhere near what I felt doing ESL. I miss my friends, my little apartment. The ajumma at the corner store who gave me tomatoes one summer day because she had some spare. The ajusshi who ran a local glasses store, and provided Marta and I with the same service a year later. I miss coffees overlooking the city of Cheongju. I miss brunch with TJ. The smiles of my kids as they finally got that word right they’d been struggling with. Their enthusiasm for Sports Day. I miss never knowing what was going on.

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Cheongju, South Korea

I miss the life of the expat.

And friends – as great as it is being home, I count everyday down as one less until I can leave again. Once the travel bug bites you, and you experience that life, I honestly don’t think you can happily do anything else.

As a wiser person than I said, “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

Ricky

Reflections On Two Years Abroad

So, let’s face it. I’ve been a bit shit at posting on here recently. For all you know, I could have spontaneously combusted. Luckily, I didn’t – I’ve been mostly fine. Largely, I have been preparing to jet off to colder climes (Canada, for anyone who somehow doesn’t know). And you know what – this has got me thinking about living abroad in many different ways.

In my opinion, a lot of people who start travelling do so because they are a little…broken. Not in a bad way, but something has happened to make their brain think “You know…we should give up everything we’ve ever known, go somewhere completely new and see how that works out”. I know for me this was certainly the case. I was dealing with some pretty bad mental health issues and I think that was (a part) of the reason that I came to Korea. An attempt to get away from it all. It didn’t work, of course. How can you outrun yourself? But I have learnt some other important things living abroad.

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Going To The Cinema In Korea (Or Shut Up And Take My Money)

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I suppose you might think this a strange subject for me to write about. And it probably is. I mean, after all, who is interested in my trips to the cinema in Korea? Well, hopefully, some people out there are because going to the cinema here is quite the experience.

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Eating In The Hermit Kingdom: My Top Five Korean Foods You Should Try

From Visit Korea
From Visit Korea

So, you are heading to Korea. Naturally, you’ll be eating Korean food. But, after a few weeks, when the thrill of Korean barbecue has worn off, you might not know what to order. Today’s article is here to help. I am going to detail my top five Korean foods. From the humble kimbap to amazing dak galbi, join me on a culinary adventure through the Hermit Kingdom.

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Korean Life: Living On A Budget In Korea

I have to live on how much?
I have to live on how much?

Until recently, I had been spending (or wasting) a lot of my disposable income on…well, many things. Clothes, video games and expensive foods to name but a few. Now, however, I am on a strict budget as I am saving for my (hopeful) working visa break in Canada. But living on a strict budget has proved harder than I thought. Perhaps because I am trying to eat well at the same time. But my article today is going to cover some basic tips for living on a budget in Korea.

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MERS Attacks

MERS AttacksSo, unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard about the current situation here in Korea to do with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Seemingly being portrayed as an epidemic of grand proportions by the media, today I am going to tell you the facts.

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