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#16 - Random thoughts

I don’t even know where I’m going with this one.  Just felt like writing.  No stories, no morals or life lessons to be learned from this one… well, maybe one or two. 

It’s down to the wire.  One week left until this year contract with the Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education comes to an end and I say farewell. 

All that stuff about the years going by so fast as you get older really is true.  And I’m only 28!  I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by.  It truly feels like I just got here.  Considering my relatively young age, I don’t even want to know how fast these years are gonna go by when I’m in my sixties.  Will we stop processing minutes and instead just process the hours in the day?  We’ll wake up at 9am and then count… 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, bed.  One day down.  NEXT!

I seriously hope that’s not the case.

I sometimes think about how quickly the past year has passed me by; how the days so quickly became weeks and how with just four weeks, a month passes.  Twelve of those months later and the job is complete, the children have been taught, there is a possibility that they might have learned something, and I can say that this experience will certainly be one that I will smile on. 

It’s hard to think exactly what views I will take with me when I leave.  I think that it is a colossal mistake to judge another culture as good or bad, right or wrong.  There are aspects of this place that I disagree with but then again, America is no shining beacon of light either.  We have to strive to be more accepting of everyone else. 

I will probably never understand the staring, the abundance of plastic surgery, the inability to be different, the fear associated with thinking outside the box, the constant whispering about me, the foreigner; the oppressive gender roles, or for godsake, the lack of trachcans.  But those things and many more that I haven’t mentioned aside, I can’t very well say that Korea is good, bad, right, or wrong.  It’s just Korea.  To me, it can be weird here.  And that is expected…  It’s not the west, it’s not home, and I wouldn’t want it to be.  If every country exhibited the same culture as the west, then traveling wouldn’t be so fun.  And this year was about traveling… let’s be honest here.  Even though during the interview when they asked me, “Why do you want to come to Korea” and I said “because I love to teach, of course!”.  That was a lie.  I love to travel, of course.  And being an English teacher in Korea will have given me five extra stamps on my passport from countries that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to see.  That simple fact alone, makes this experience a win. 

In addition to that, I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world and have had the luxury of hanging out with over 400 screaming kids every week who are either too cool or too excited to understand anything that comes out of my mouth.  Good times all around.  I will miss those little kids.  Their happiness, their attitude, their pre-teen angst, all of it has reminded me so much of… me.  They hate English, but they also just hate school in general.  I don’t blame them.  I hated school too when I was in the 6th grade.  Hopefully I have at least provided enough clown like, self-depricating moments into their already too stressful lives.  And hopefully, they enjoyed their time with me as I have enjoyed my time with them (for the most part).

That’s about all I have to say at this time. 

I will also miss Korean BBQ.  And couples that wear the same clothes.