South Korea—Take 2

It has been about 360 days since I first set foot on South Korean soil. I find myself back in Korea about to start another year. Looking back these coming five days between August 10- 16th were super stressful. I was waiting for visa stuff. I was trying to figure out what to bring and what not to bring. I had no clue about what to expect when it came to immigration to South Korea.
I was such a wide-eyed newbie. I remember driving with our Teacher Coordinator (Mrs. K).  to my apartment that first night. Each road was a new adventure. All the bright lights on the sides of what seemed to be massive buildings were overwhelming. I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t let Mrs. K know I was so engulfed in wonderment and near the breaking point of newness.
We stopped at this little corner store to pick up breakfast foods. It was about 11 pm and I thought, “Wow! These little stores are open late.” I also remember thinking that the cashiers were rude and that I would never go to there again. Yeah, that didn’t happen that corner store became the closest and rather pleasant place to get groceries. The cashier ladies have grown on me and I am sure I have grown on them.
All the roads seemed huge and made up one giant maze. I knew for sure I would never be able to find my way around what I thought was a city. Little did I know that this “city” was really just a suburb or neighborhood in Korea. Friday I went shopping at Emart. I store similar to Walmart only three stories. Again I was with Mrs. K who was sweet and helpful but everything looked risky. Even apples! I also went up to the school met my co-workers and discovered my classroom. It had a good first impression. It had tons of windows, a sink (that smelled awful!) and a magnetic white board. It had potential for sure….apparently it doesn’t take much for me to be pleased with my situation, “oo windows, smelly sink, and a whiteboard…I am in teacher heaven.” 🙂
The next day on was Saturday. It was my exploration day! The only thing was that I could not seem to get my automatic lock to lock once I left my apartment.  So I called Mrs. K who was luckily in the area with the English teachers. Apparently she told them that I was locked inside my apartment. That was not true I could get out of my apartment it just would not lock itself up when I left.  The English teachers were “eh” during that time I could take them or leave them. I explored and walked all over the neighborhood that day. It was that day that I figured out that the roads were not mazes and that the corner store really was at a corner near my apartment. I also discovered that I could and would survive this crazy green, mixture of buildings and nature.
Fast forward to present day, August 10th, and I am not super close to those English teachers I met on my first Saturday in Korea. In fact I am dog sitting their pup while they are visiting family. I can work an automatic door lock like a pro…even though they still scare me at times. I know where all the great coffee shops are. I know the busses to take and the Sundays that the big stores like Emart will be closed.
I am glad I did not die from all that bewilderment of those first few days. Last year held a lot of learning curves. Though I enjoyed being in Korea, I had a lot of frustrating moments where I simply had to let go of control and brace for adventure. This year I am sure there will be different kinds of things to learn, different obstacles to face and beat and probably lots of struggles (I am realistic). On top of all that, I am sure there will also be lots of laughs, lots of pictures and lots of adventures (but I am also a dreamer). I hope you will join me for another year of experiencing life in South Korea!

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