Monday, September 8, 2008

Finding my way.

Well, I still don't have internet access at my new apartment, so while I'm composing this in my cozy new apartment (at my lovely new desk and one of my cute new folding chairs purchased Sunday at E-mart with Min Gi's assistance), I will be posting it tomorrow (now today) from my new job at Taegu Foreign Language High School.

Needless to say a LOT has happened during my temporary lapse into the technological dark ages. All that I had been planning—moving to the new apartment, visiting family and friends in America, going to Jeju Island for swing camp, starting my new job, finding a new taekwondo studio—has come to pass. Obviously the new place still has a few glitches (the lack of internet being a major one), but it has substantially improved since the first day when my gas (which operates the hot water in Korea) had not been turned on prior to my moving in and I didn't have a fridge. Yay three days of bitterly cold showers and no food. Ah, memories. Now, even the kitties are settling into their new routine nicely.

I will be blogging about many of these notable events and more over the next few days. Especially the entries that ought to have pictures accompany them, as transporting the pictures from my computer's hard drive to the internet when said computer is not hooked up to the internet is a pain in the ass. Anyhow, enough of the business end of things.

I have been an emotional wreck since returning to Korea. Let me start by saying that I love my new job, my new neighborhood (I'm right next to an outdoor market—score!), my new apartment, and even my new taekwondo studio. And after my brief sojourn to America, I know even more certainly that Korea is definitely where I want to be right now. I'm just feeling lost and homesick for stupid things, like the ability to wear sleeveless tops without being thought of as prostitute by about half of the population or having a healthy relationship in month four-ish without people constantly asking when I'm getting married. And even though I like all the changes, change is traumatic. I feel like I'm constantly having to be “on” because I keep meeting new people upon whom I'd like to make a good impression.

I only started to feel a bit more “right” when I went to swing dance at Azurajang on Sunday (even on Saturday it was in an alternate location... sheesh—are people trying to make me go insane here?). I didn't even dance that much as Gong Bi's class had too many follows (as usual). Just being around the people I'm comfortable with in a familiar place helped a lot. As does having a writing desk and getting some of this off my chest.

The weirdest part of being back in America was how much it felt like my time in Korea didn't “count,” because Americans by and large know absolutely nothing about this country. It felt sometimes like Korea was my secret—something close to my heart that only certain people over there, like Amanda and Kisu, could understand.

It helped a little to talk to Anne and Rebecca while I was there. We were in Pizzeria Uno's, like we used to do in high school, but within the last week all three of us had flown in from different continents (Rebecca, Europe; Anne, Africa; Me, Asia). While I was going back abroad in two more days, Anne and Rebecca were each at the point of “settling down” from their travels (whatever that awful expression means) to go back to graduate school. It reminded me that if I ever feel like I am finished in Korea, I do have things I could go “back” to, which is a little nice to know.

It has helped even more to talk to Leah and Min Gi since returning. Leah understands my feelings about Korea in a way few others do. And Min Gi doesn't really understand, but he can tell I'm upset, so he makes me slow dance with him in the apartment and makes me smile a lot and takes me to E-mart and is working on getting me an internet connection.

I still feel a little unsure in this new-but-not-new life I'm making. But I think I'm starting to get my footing.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. I think I'm going to be in your shoes in about 10 days, although minus the moving part. I'm going home to attend my mothers funeral. It's been a rough few days trying to get everything sorted and while I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, I'm also not (not because of the funeral either). Korea is such a big part of me, and many people just don't get that. Plus, like you said, a lot of people don't understand what the country is like. I had friends think I was going to be sleeping in a dirt hut.

    Oh well. Welcome back again! I hope you enjoy your new job. And I'm definitely getting a Costco card while at home so I can indulge in a few weekend trips to Daegu for some western food goodness.

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