I’m not even the one taking exams this week and I can feel my brain throbbing with pain.
I know that this isn’t exactly travel tips, but I felt the need to vent my frustrations for a second. As most of you know I’m currently teaching English in South Korea. It’s dwindling down to my last couple of months in this country and I’m having the worst kind of crisis. The “what do I do next” crisis that plagues all of us wanderlusters. It’s not just me, it’s anyone that has ever had to start over from the beginning after being so comfortable. I know I am choosing to leave, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
If you have lived and taught English in Korea, then you know how easy it is to live here. Those who have been here for over 4 years know exactly what I’m talking about. The life here is just too good to be true. Are there quirks and things I hate about living here? OF COURSE! But I could EASILY stay another year here. I mean, why not? You make a good amount of money, and get a lot of vacation, just by showing your students a PPT you threw together in 20 minutes! Okay, that’s not the case for everyone, but it is for many people I’ve met.
It’s easy to get comfortable and be scared of going back home to earn less wages and have little to no vacation time.
It feels almost as though I’ve only been here for 2 weeks and yet it’s already been almost 2 years. My youth is slowly fading away from under me and being wasting in this small city of Korea. And this is ultimately why this year I’ve decided that it’s time to move on. Before I get stuck again like a dinosaur caught in a tar pit. Okay lame reference, but that’s exactly how I feel at the moment. Rather than stay in Korea and not apply myself fully, and utilize all my skills, I’ve decided to apply to an MA program in international education in Spain. With this option I am able to go home and spend some time with my family, as well as prepare for the insane year that is to come. It’s time to move onto a bigger and hopefully better future!
I bought my ticket home this week.
It’s finally becoming real. It’s not just an idea or a theory in my head, no it’s actually approaching very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. This will be my first time home in 2 years… 2 YEARS! I’m having a lot of mixed feelings at the thought of going back home and feeling like a complete stranger in my own country. Of course I’ll be happy to see my family, but that’s about as far as it goes. I’ve been gone so long that the “friends” I had are now content with their lives moving on without me. I’m a ghost. Merely a figment of their imagination. A once distant memory in the back of their minds, and easily forgotten. Okay maybe I’m being a bit theatrical, but I like a bit of drama.
It’s getting real guys, and it’s finally starting to hit me that this is actually the beginning of many goodbyes and broken hearts.
I told my favorite student, I know I shouldn’t have a favorite but every teacher does, that I was leaving Korea and his response shattered my heart into a tiny million fragments. He said “But wait, does that mean I can’t talk to you anymore? You’re not coming back?” and in that moment I wanted to tell him that I’m selfish and their school system is fucked, but I opted for “Yes Ji-min, that’s right. I have a great opportunity to improve my future and I have to take it.” He finished cleaning my room and left silently.
Not only will I have to say goodbye to my students, but also to my friends and my now boyfriend of almost a year. However I’ve still got a month or so left to deal with that one.
I know I should be excited for the future, but I think for the first time in my life I’m feeling more stress and confusion about what it has in store for me.
I’ll try to keep strong and I hope I make the right choices in order to keep doing what I love, TRAVELING!
Cheers to anyone else out there who feels the same! Let’s figure our shit out together!