Challenging your identity is one of the most difficult and rewarding things that a person can do. For example, since arriving in South Korea everything has felt different, the novelty has swept me up and thrown me thousands of feet (ahem, I mean meters) into the air and as I fall, i notice that i am surrounded by incredibly thick fog. I wish more than anything to make the fog transparent because I know that there is immense beauty behind it; if only I could see. Then I begin to understand some new basic idea and all of a sudden the satisfaction of a child learning a new word illuminates my soul.
This is the pendulum that I have been swinging on for the previous two weeks here in Korea. I am still amazed everyday at the life that I now live and I have to repeat to myself that I am a full time teacher in a foreign country. I am the main English teacher for two schools and I am living a brand spanking new life.
I am located in Gangwon province in a small village called Yanngu. Gangwon is the biggest province with the fewest amount of people so living here is like living in the most authentic part of South Korea. The province is 70% mountainous and I found a large network of trails nearby my apartment so that is pretty sweeet.
The first couple of weeks have consisted of me being confused about mostly everything from almost losing my luggage in the airport, to meeting my 9 coteachers, 2 principals, 2 vice principals, and many other administrative faculty, to meeting my 11 different classes, to learning public transit, and even trying to learn the most basic of basic Korean expressions so much has happened so expediently. But gee gosh the children could not be more any more adorable :D
Oh and did I mention that I have eaten silk worm larvae, sea squirt, and cow tongue soup!
Oh and I got to see some Sweet Pretty Pink Cherry blossoms today.
Moreover, I am beginning to really adapt and grow accustomed to my new lifestyle and I can even introduce myself to people without looking like a total fool! Haha. Most of my co-teachers have very limited English speaking capabilities which was difficult at first but now I just make sure to smile greet them and go about my business. A few of my teachers have had more in depth conversations with me such as, "Let's play soccer", "how was your weekend", and "this is how to say this in Korean". I really appreciate their efforts. Every Monday and Tuesday I get to play soccer at lunch which I'm pretty pysched about!
So between the lonely nights of reading up on the language and culture and the days of making toothpaste and planting lettuce with my students. I can ruminate in moments of mammoth mountains and roaring rivers with cute birds and I can appreciate the steady flow of improvement in my teaching and linguistic skills. I am exactly on the ride that I signed up for and I couldn't be more grateful.