I Am Back In Korea!

So, despite my repeated promises, my insistence that I will change, my best efforts, I haven’t posted on here since the start of the year.

Why? Well, several reasons, none of which I will bore you with. But now, I’m back and ready to keep you updated on my exciting life here in Korea once again.

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A Day In The Life – Big Decisions

Thinking about the future can be pretty scary. For every decision that we make, there are a thousand “What if” questions that can crop up. What if I had done this or that differently? What if I hadn’t said that, or gone there? This is as true for travel as it is anything else. My life changed dramatically when I said “What if I do apply to EPIK?”, which (if you are a regular reader) you will know I did back in 2013.

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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.

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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

The End Of An Englishman In Chungbuk (or I’ve Moved!)

So, the more observant amongst you will notice that I haven’t posted anything on here for a while. This is because (as I am sure you know) I have been in the process of moving countries. Moving from sleepy Cheongju to Quebec in Canada. This move marks an end to An Englishman In Chungbuk. But fear not – it also marks the beginning of a new chapter in this blog’s life. An Englishman In Quebec has been born.

Canada!

So, what does this mean for you, dear reader? Well, I will (obviously) no longer be posting things to do with the subject of Korea. That was an obvious move because I no longer live there. Instead, expect so much Canadian themed content you could shake a moose at it. I plan to post articles about my life here for the next four months, including restaurant reviews, information about the area I am staying in (Chambly and Montreal for the more curious among you), photo compilation blogs of life here in the Chambly area. So, basically, much of what you have come to expect from this blog.

I have also put my second blog on a temporary hiatus. This means that I have the time and energy to work on creating great content for this site. In fact, the first thing I need to do is a “rebranding”, so to speak. This means a new layout, menus and site banner to reflect my move to Canada.

Well, that is it for this short update. Expect my new site to be up and redesigned within a few weeks and keep your eyes open for my first Canadian post.

As they would say here in Quebec, au revoir.

Ricky

Ricky

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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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.

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