I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me almost an entire month to come up with something to say about how I uprooted my life and moved from California to South f**king Korea.
But I’ve been hesitant. So many people have asked me why I’ve chosen to come here of all places to teach English, and the truth is it’s as random a place to me as it probably is to you. I don’t quite know the easiest way to explain why I’m here but I suppose that this is my attempt.
I don’t know anyone on this entire continent. I’ve never been here before. I don’t speak a word of the language. In fact, a few months ago I could have cared less about this place I now live in. I’m here simply because I’m following one of my many dreams. How cliché.
But teaching English abroad after college is something I’ve planned to do since I was a child. I’ve always been fascinated by languages and cultures. And while many come here as an escape or because they couldn’t find work at home or to pay off student loans, I put it at the forefront of everything else. I had always wanted to do this. It was an idea that was stuck in my mind for years, and so, despite other opportunities, I had to see what would happen.
Nothing makes me more sad than a person who is either constantly trying to live up to others expectations, or caught up in the devil that is The Comfort Zone.
I think we are more alone – not necessarily lonely – but in spite of friends, partners, or family, we are more alone than people realize. You are the only one who has to live with the consequences of your actions, so take control of them.
To me, this thought is amazingly freeing.
It is my personal motto as I begin this journey of self-cultivation and self-sustainability (financially, and emotionally). But my 20’s are a period for trial and error- no preaching here.
And that’s why I left a job I loved to come here. And besides the free airfare and rent and high salary South Korea offers -shwing!- the idea of living somewhere I never thought I would started to grow on me. I realized I had a complete ego about this place I knew nothing about. As if it wasn’t worth my time. So I put my ego in check and here I am.
And so far, so great.
I believe that everyone should follow every dream they have ever had. Even if you fail, which you undoubtedly will at times, you will learn something in the process.
And at least you won’t be stuck in The Waiting Place.
Maybe coming here won’t be the greatest decision for me. Maybe I’ll hate it and go back to the US earlier than planned. Or change jobs. Fine. But at least I will know what happened. We all sure as hell know that “what if” is quite possibly the worst feeling a person can have- a lingering stench like that of cigarettes that can last months, years, even decades longer. My goal in life is to have no What If’s.
So this is my prelude to my South Korean life. A mission statement to my journey. As big a noob to the culture as many of you reading this, I hope we can all learn something in the process.