It has been an awfully long time since I posted on here. November, I believe, was the last time. When I left you last, I was undertaking my teacher training and stressed about work. Well, what has changed since then? Not a lot. I am still stressed. I am still in teacher training. But my future path may be different, dear reader. For I have made the decision to re-apply to go and teach in Korea with the EPIK Programme again. Those who read my sporadic blog posts will know that I miss Korea. I miss EFL. I miss basically everything about those glorious two years. So this should really come as no surprise.
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.
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.
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.”
Here it is. My second blog post within a week. Shocking I know, but I must keep a schedule if I am to write on here with any kind of regularity. So, as you may have guessed from my title, this post is about my future plans. And they fact that they have solidified. Yes. I have a plan for my future. And it does not involve some dull 9-5 lifestyle here in the UK. I have been home now for three months and, my dear reader, I am bloody miserable here. The weather is crap. My future prospects are crap. In short, the UK has more crap coming out of it than Donald Trump’s mouth.
Naturally, I can’t be dealing with this. I was lukewarm about coming back at best. In fact, the only good point is my family and friends (so shout out to you guys for being good enough to get me back to this place). What, you are most likely asking, is your plan then? Well, let me tell you. I plan to work here for the next year and a half (or so), save up money and then I am off back to the glorious world of ESL teaching in Vietnam.
I miss ESL a lot (a subject I plan to cover in another post), and to those of you who know me, this is probably not a surprise. I completely fell in love with Vietnam when I visited it last February. The only thing that worries me is that I might be here for a bit longer than a year and a half. But I am determined not to be. Well, a year and three-quarters is more accurate. I am trying my best to save around 40-50% of my pay every month. That is how determined I am to get out of here.
I am extremely optimistic about this plan, and the future now. In a way that I wasn’t when faced with being stuck here for so long. Quite simply, I don’t feel at home here any more. I didn’t think I would before I came home and I was right. Much like many of my other expat friends, I miss ESL. I miss the life that comes with it. I miss living somewhere more exciting than the dreary place I grew up.
So that is all from me for now. Stay amazing, folks and I will do another blog post soon.
A strange thing happened to me when I moved to Korea. I lost my entire early 20’s. How, you ask? Well, dear reader, I shall tell you!
Age in Korea is worked out a little differently to in the West. You are already 1 when you are born, so everyone here is “one year older” than in the West. So, when I moved here I was already 23, turning 24. Today, in Korean age, I turn 25 and officially hit my mid-20s. Back in the West, I am almost there anyway as I turn 24.
So, what am I expecting for my birthday? I got some nice clothing from my family and my girlfriend. And some money, most of which will be spent on new clothing for my wardrobe (which is in need of an update).
I have camp later but am also off out for an amazing meal with some of my closest friends and Marta, of course. I can’t wait. You should always spend your birthday with those you love, and in the obvious absence of family, friends are the next and most amazing of choices.
I have also been thinking more about the future and where it might take me. The front runner at the moment is New Zealand. If I have any readers from there, and you want to offer me some advice on what I can do or where is a great place to live, let me know. Christchurch or Wellington are topping the list at the moment.
That is all I have to say for now. I shall post again soon.