Ahh, Korea. Here I am, back again. To you all, it must seem as if I have dropped off the face of the Earth! In fact, things here have been nothing short of a whirlwind since I've returned.
If you haven't been following me on Facebook, the long and short of it is that when I first came back I stayed in an apartment that had bedbugs, and I had to move to another place. I was lucky enough to find a place literally right between my work and Ewha Woman's University Station, which is a cool little area. Lots of shops and bubble tea places...I can also walk to work! The place I'm in now is a 3-bedroom floor on the bottom of a "villa" as they call them here (which are basically like duplexes, except with more floors). It was completely rehabbed, and, while still no stranger to Asia's annoying summer bugs, it is on the whole a cute and clean little place.
I do have a roommate from France who is a sweet girl, she is doing an internship with the French embassy so will only be here until the end of November. After then, I'm seriously considering renting the entire place here for myself, even if it costs more. I know that may seem strange given the fact that one of my goals here is to save some money, but I am at the point in my life where I really would like to have a space to call my own.
In coming to Korea, I have really felt that my life here would be different. I have heard it said many times that if we repeat experiences too many times, we keep having the same experiences, and ultimately we learn the same lessons over and over again. My lessons in this life seem to be about gratitude, taking care of myself, loving and trusting myself, and being patient. Maybe others feel that they have certain lessons that always arise, too. I'm really not sure. :)
It's funny how as you continue through life, you start recognizing archetypal characters in every situation. Shakespeare really was so, so wise in saying, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players..." We are all characters to each other, complementing one another's performances. You start to know each short play like the back of your hand, and you find yourself saying, "ah! Here is that one again. How shall I play the part this time?" You always have the opportunity to change, to evolve; that is the true Grace and the beauty of life.
In coming back to Korea, I recognize a lot of the same situations being presented to me. However, I've always been one that has sincerely tried to learn from every situation and change my behavior in response. It can be difficult to change when you are so used to having the same response, but it is really a matter of choice and action. So, the good news is that this time, I am actually feeling different. My activities are healthier and more interesting, and I'm consciously making choices about how to deal with drama as opposed to just letting myself get caught up in it. It's not that I'm doing everything right now, but I definitely feel a little bit more in control of my life, and at the same time, more at ease with unexpected events than before. It's like, instead of being the passenger on a ship, this time I'm the captain.
Anyway, before I get too existential (umm, too late Anna...;) I guess I should tell you how everything else is going in my life here. I work this time at another academy (hagwon) for kindergarten/elementary students. My students are really sweet, and I am happy to be teaching them. I am far calmer this time around in teaching, and perhaps more lax on discipline. I don't really find myself getting so frustrated with the students as I used to, or having to hold the reins so tightly. It's not that these things don't bother me anymore; in fact, they really do, but I guess I just don't have the emotional energy to deal with shouting all day long, so I just don't.
The job is all well and good, but I can definitely see myself teaching older students in the future. I really like teaching around 13-14+ years old here and I would love to teach University students, so I am (once again, for the billionth time) considering doing a Master's degree so that that would be possible. I have a bunch of options, but I am going to have to assess more carefully when my contract is finished. I have decided not to be overly proactive about this because I know myself and I'll just get overwhelmed and pin my hopes on these hypothetical situations, and in turn I'll miss the things that are happening at the moment, and see them only as an escape when things here aren't going well. I always have lots of ideas about things that I'd love to do, things that would be great in the future, but I make myself feel bad when I don't achieve everything I think I should be achieving. I've been there, done that. So, I'm going to wait until about December and assess things more carefully then. :)
For better or for worse, whether I like it or not, I've continued to evolve here and life gets more and more interesting every day. As always, I miss everyone back home and hope to get to talk to everyone a bit more...sorry if I've been on the MIA side. :) Things should be better now in terms of time, so feel free to message me any time. :)
Much, much love and gratitude for you all!