Monday, July 23, 2007

The Last Case of the Mundays For Awhile

I find this part of the journey so difficult to articulate.

Perhaps this is why I've been so silent here.

Mostly, I just feel it's a very personal time, something that while I'm in the midst of it, I'm just not quite ready to share all the feelings and emotions I'm going through.

Almost like my emotions seem to be changing so constantly, that if I write anything down, it will suddenly become a REAL emotion, one that's not associated with any stress hormones or general anxiety.

And I'm not sure that's really the right way to go. Because I don't think venting in this sort of way will actually solve any of it or even make it go away momentarily. I think it will just paint the wrong picture.

One that you can't easily erase. One that is a distroted view of the actual situation. And perhaps my journalistic side wants me to 'stick to the facts m'aam'. And those facts DON'T actually include my roller coaster emotions.

Because then maybe someone will make a judgement about a certain place or person based on what I've written. Based on my emotionally charged statements.

Which is why I think it's best to simply experience what I'm experiencing without actually verbalising it until I've had the reflection time.

And there's also the fact that with all the loose ends to tie up, the creative part of my brain is mostly just filled with lists.

To do lists.

To buy lists.

To get vaccinated for lists.

To ship lists.

To stop worrying about lists.

But today was my last Monday at work for awhile. After this week, I will be a professional traveller. Or nomad. Or moocher. Or beach bum. Depending on which way you look at it.

So I'll put this day to bed and feel better about at least communicating about my non communication.

And I'll get back to y'all on that real soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Few and Far Between

There has been a lot going on here in G-town - my mind is mostly elsewhere.

I'm feeling a bit excited, apprehensive, sad, happy, angry, tired and content all at the same time.
With not much else to say, I'll leave you with some more of my cents.

For What It's Worth #2 - LEARN KOREAN RIGHT AWAY
It was very easy for us to simply put this in the back of our minds and decide that we would 'just to it later'. Trust me, after your first week at school, the LAST thing you'll want to do is try and sit down and study.

I know because we tried.
And then we managed to come up with 101 excuses why we just didn't have time to learn the language. Yes, JUST DIDN'T HAVE TIME.

People - there is ALWAYS time. And I think I would have had a much different - albeit less frustrating - experience if I tried to pick it up right away.

It makes it easier to simply socialise in a way you do back home.
Ask the convience store clerk if she's having good day.
Comment about the freshness of the vegetable to the teller at the grocery store.
Modify your food at a restaurant.
Ask the sauna lady 'Do I REALLY have to get naked to go in there?".
We could have enjoyed more Korean things if we knew how to read, ask, have a conversation in Korean.
So as much as studying is what you want to do after teaching all day, just force yourself. And then after your year is up, let me know if it made as much a difference as I think it will.

Can't Believe I'll Neva.......
be offered green tea in every place I go. When you walk into any Korean store or office, there is a water cooler, equiped with both cold AND hot water for you to sample. And there is always green tea. What better way to zap all those free radicals you're inhaling and drinking while you're here?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Beginning of the End

D and I recently celebrated our full year in Korea. On Friday night, we were out with the same teachers who introduced us to Korea when we arrived.

After our meal, we ventured off home to spend some quality time in a cool area (can I talk about HOW FRICKIN HOT IT IS RIGHT NOW??) our living room. Not to mention the bartender there makes THE BEST gin and tonics.

We started a highs and lows conversation, a little stroll down memory lane.

It's more than surreal. It's so strange and bizarre and amazing and weird and hardly possible and many other adjectives not worth mentioning that it's possible that we have been here a year.

We have come a really long way. Longer than I could have ever imagined.

If you had told me I would survive not only a foot break (yes I KNOW it's not that big of a deal but your are talking about a little bit o a drama head) but foot break IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, I wouldn't have believed you.

If you had told me that I after a year I could put 'Can really kiss away boo-boos" on my resume, I would have laughed in your face.

If you had told me, that the sound of a foreign language would just suddenly click and make sense and that even though I wouldn't be able to tell you the words, I would be able to get the gist of what people were saying, I'd tell you to take a flying leap.

I'm such a different person who is absolutely the same. And I realise that anyone obviously goes through changes in their life and they don't need to come halfway around the world to experience them.

But I do. And I'm glad I did. And there were many times, over this past year, that I didn't really think I could ever say that; that there was never going to be a time when I could look back on certain situations and laugh; that I thought my mother might never stop saying 'Well why don't you just come home then?'

We are expecting to leave Korea at the end of this month. Our plan is to go travelling, for as long as the money will take us or until next February, when V Day rolls around again.

I thought I make take this opportunity, to use this month and the postings I have left to share not only what I have learned but what I will miss.

Let me post this disclaimer that, as a blog always is, my OWN experience and opinions about what it is like to live here and what you can expect.

Everyone is different. And everyone is here for different reasons. And this is kinda for my own knowledge as well. To help this last month be about reflection and learning, productive, not negative.

And so, without further adieu..

If you're planning on coming out here, here's A's 1st For What It's Worth and Can't Believe I'll Neva:

For What It's Worth #1 - DON'T COME HERE FOR THE MONEY
When I was researching coming to Korea, I found a guy's posting from like 5 years ago. He went into many details about what you should and should not do but I have to say, the one that stuck in my head, was this.
Don't come here for the money..ONLY the money. It's not worth it. You can make a lot of money planting trees or working on oil rigs and you don't have to go through all of the things you will go through here just to make a buck.
You have to want to be here for more than the paycheck. Otherwise, you will be that unhappy sap that the rest of the foreign crowd avoids. And you can forget about Koreans socialising with you cause I'm guessing if you're here for the money, you're not trying to learn the language.

Can't Believe I'll Neva....
...walk into another job where my clients are SO excited to see me, they jump up and down, crawl all over me like monkeys and scream my name for the first 5 minutes.
And this, after I just saw them before lunch. Imagine what Monday mornings are like.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Canada Day

Although I've already celebrated - quite extensively I may add - I thought I'd better wish everyone near and far a happy one.

It was quite surreal this year as it's been the first one abroad that I've actually had other Canadians - and even Americans! - to celebrate with. Over the last 5 years, minus the one year when we were home, we were always pumping the day up for people who really, were just happy to have any excuse for a party.

This year, it was a bit of sharing of past Canada Day stories, eating of the pizza, the missing of the fireworks and of course, the token drinking of many drinks.

It was great.

So although I'm not at a cottage somewhere, NOT working today, I certainly celebrated in good fashion.

And will be hitting the sack early tonight. Because I'm an old lady people. I went to be 5 HOURS PAST MY BEDTIME last night.

Oh dear.

Have a great one.