Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finding happiness in Korea

It’s been two months now since I boarded the plane to my new life in South Korea. My feelings far too clouded then with sadness and uncertainty to foresee a life as beautiful as this. I hoped so desperately that I would like my job, have big (and little) adventures, and cure those ever-so-present feelings of loneliness that I only feel in places that feel easy and comfortable.

I wasn't always confident in my decision to come here. In fact, on most days leading up to the move, I struggled to find the reasons. I struggled through goodbyes, learning to read Korean, and holding chopsticks was a seemingly never-ending failure. But with a serious lack of direction, and no real reason to be elsewhere, Korea felt as good as anywhere.

Beyond moving to Asia though, was the reality that I would be teaching humans actual things. English things, but things, nonetheless. Someone trusted me enough to pay me and fly me out from America to speak, practice, impart wisdom of some sort, and hopefully not fail miserably in my attempt. They trusted me to stand in front of a classroom, once a very real nightmare of mine, and speak words to somewhere north of 700 different students (mostly teenagers!!) a week.

And somewhere in the past few months, I found a kind of confidence. Maybe it's the constant stares and 'Hello's' from strangers and non-strangers, alike, the never-ending compliments on my blonde hair and blue eyes, or the fact that I feel like I actually might be good at this. I have developed a real love for my students, the staff, my schools, teaching, my amazing friends, and a life I never would have seen coming.

Things are sometimes difficult, almost always confusing, and on the days we have Octopus soup for lunch, I always dream of the crap America used to feed me. But on most days, it really is more than I could have asked for. And here's why:

- Teacher's are bowed to, acknowledged, and most importantly of all, respected. As they should be, in every country, across the board. Time to get with, America.
- School lunches are healthy and delicious, unless I see tentacles, of course.
- Outside shoes are switched for inside shoes called "slippers" upon entering the building. It's smart, it's clean, and best of all, it's casual, meaning that I never ever have to pretend to like wearing heels.
- Despite not knowing a lick of each other's languages, there is always a sense of sweetness and understanding between me and everyone I meet. It is beautiful and quite unlike anywhere else I've visited and lived to date.
- My friends, having only known me for a few short weeks, understand me in a way that most people never have. It's rare to find friendships like this, but I have them both at home and abroad, and that makes me feel like the luckiest girl alive.
- The adventures are everywhere. In the form of food, and festivals, and fireworks. In the form of hiking, and hugs, and hand holding with strangers. In the form of trying to properly order a coffee or tell just one taxi driver just one time how to successfully get me anywhere.

Every day is something new or ridiculous or confusing or exciting. Most days, it is all of these things and more. My life, in almost no way, is what I pictured it would be all those years ago when I thought plans were useful. And in almost all ways, it is better than I ever imagined it could be. To fate, or the universe, or the random, but significant events that led me here, thank you. Thank you for this very sweet, and beautiful, and chaotic ride you've led me on. Thank you for all of this. 


  1. So happy you have found happiness. I have followed you randomly over the years. Seeing one adventure after another. You don't know what kind of impact you can have. Take care, stay safe, enjoy every minute love HC.

  2. Replies
    1. No, thank you. You'll never know the impact you have had or can have.

  3. I've been reading your blog for years. I decided to check it tonight on a whim and love that you're on a new adventure! You definitely inspire me to travel more and push myself out of my comfort zone.

    1. this make me so happy <3! to be honest, leaving my comfort zone sucks every time. it's hard, sad, and always stressful. That being said though, there has never been a time, not even once, that it wasn't worth it :).

  4. I do not like the direction things are heading. People killing others over little irritation, others depending on drugs for their day to day living and still more people pursuing their goals and dream at the expense of their happiness.