Boldly Stepping Into The Future (Or Re-Applying for EPIK)

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.

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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.

fa9d5-cheongju
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

Living In A Smaller City: The Charms And Flaws of Cheongju.

So, I have been struggling to come up with a topic for today’s post all weekend. And then I realised that not many people talk about  living here in Korean cities. Even if they do, it is often Seoul-based. There is nothing wrong with this but Seoul is different from the rest of Korea (much more forward thinking, much more to do and easier access to ‘Western things’). I live in one of the smaller regional capital cities in Korea (Cheongju, the capital of the Chungbuk province) and I am going to write a short post on what that is like.

Continue reading “Living In A Smaller City: The Charms And Flaws of Cheongju.”

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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