The first few months of being thrown into a wildly new environment are always challenging, even under the best of circumstances. Just as you’re about to give up, the tide begins to turn (pardon the cheese).
Moving to Seoul from San Francisco was harsh. In San Francisco, I was spoiled. Suddenly, instead of riding my bright pink fuji feather around town, I was being violated, bent over and smashed into human bodies from every possible direction on buses. Instead of eating lavish, admittedly over-indulgent food at every meal, I was scrounging to make-do with kidney beans and carrots. I traded my County Line rosé in for $.89 bottles of makgeolli, Korean rice wine. I was trapped living in a miniature concrete cube and teaching in classrooms without windows when I had become astonishingly accustomed to spending much of my time outdoors.
It all sounds terribly trivial, but coupled with not knowing the language, a brand-spankin new job and unfamiliar friends and coworkers surrounding you, it’s nothing short of a Darwinian test. Survival of the Fittest. Those who adapt will swim, those who do not, will spend their year-long contract (if they make it) pulling their hair out and fighting it the whole way.
So, where do I fall on this spectrum of sink or swim?
As of recently, I’m loving it every minute. I feel incredibly excited about the possibilities the future holds. When you move to a new place, it tests you and, in turn, changes you. I am so happy to have made the decision to come here, challenge myself and grow. I recently heard this quote on Debbie Millman’s Design Matters with Maria Popova, curator of Brain Pickings:
“You are a mashup of what you let into your life.” -Austin Kleon
This quote was in regards to creativity and the internet, but it nevertheless applies to life as well. If you don’t expose yourself to things outside your box, if you don’t constantly test yourself, how can you be a life-long learner?
After a mere 6-months in Seoul, I have learned more about myself than I could have possibly anticipated. I am more patient and have more love to give to my students than I could have ever imagined. I am a passionate outdoors woman and this excitement for hiking is not just a passing phase. I am not afraid of change.
Enough about cheesy I, I, I … If you’ve made it this far (or ever read one sentence on this blog) thank you, thank you, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to take a peek into mine. Give me a shout out. Shoot me a line. Holler at me. I’m sure I would adore to hear from you!
Thanks to Lost Type Co-Op for providing the best free fonts out there. You guys rock.
Hi, I loved this piece, I’m moving to korea soon from Ireland! It’s scary and exciting! I realise this is over 2 years old, are you still in korea or back home?
Aine!!!! Somehow this slipped through the cracks until now. I would have loved to have connected to you before you were here! I hope you had a lovely week 🙂