Exactly one year ago from today, it was my first day in Korea. I was exhausted and totally drugged out on Dramamine, yet very excited to be here. I arrived at the airport and found the taxi driver holding a sign with my name on it, who brought me to English Village. At the back gate, I was greeted by one Jennifer who is no longer here, and another Jennifer who is still here. They brought me to my apartment and pointed out a “starter kit” that was made up for us newbies, containing rice, instant noodles, and a sandwich baggy of laundry detergent. I remember devouring all of the food in about 5 minutes. There was absolutely nothing else in the apartment except for a couch, coffee table, regular table, bed, 5 chairs, and 2 giant TVs that didn’t work (and still don’t). I used a borrowed blanket for the first few nights and lived out of my suitcase until I was able to acquire hangers, bedding, and other essentials for settling in to a new place. When I look around and see how homey I’ve managed to make this place, it’s hard to imagine it how it was when I first arrived.
This year has been a wild ride. I started out trying to comprehend what this place actually is (I’m still working on that one), meeting all of my colleagues, and exploring as much of Paju and Seoul as I possibly could. I spent the rest of my free time talking to Glenn on Skype and blogging about the things I was learning. Soon after, I got my first sore throat, which as you know, later led to chronic tonsillitis, pneumonia, 2 peritonsillar abscesses, a tonsillectomy, and chronic infection (which I am still trying to overcome). I’ve also experienced a variety of situations at work, most of them frustrating, and a few of them fun. I’ve taught kids as young as kindergarten, civil servants and businessmen in their 50s, and all ages in between. I’ve taught South Koreans, North Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Russian students. I know Seoul like the back of my hand and can understand some basic Korean without having really tried to learn it.
It’s been a great year; possibly the most memorable year of my life thus far.
I started this blog over a year ago, and I’ve had over 11,000 views from countries around the world. Check out some of my stats!
I should be renewing my contract this week so that I can stay here until Glenn and I feel we are both ready to leave (whether that’s at the end of his contract in December, or a few months after that). I’m not looking forward to another brutal winter, but it’s a sure paycheck and that is my #1 priority at this point in time.
Thank you to everyone who has been following my blog. I truly appreciate your interest and support, and I enjoy all of the comments you’ve left on my various posts and pictures. Thank you!