Saying Goodbye to Paju English Village

Yes, the time is fast approaching; Glenn and I will soon be leaving Korea. Our last day of work is tomorrow (Wednesday) and our departure date is next Wednesday, May 7th. Even though we haven’t had a program since mid-April, I have suddenly found myself quite busy with preparing to move.

Last Friday, Glenn and I gave our goodbye speeches at EV (goodbye speeches are traditionally given on the Friday before one’s last day of work). Glenn had never done his new teacher introduction, so to be funny, he did that as his goodbye speech. Everyone loved it! Also, traditionally, the person leaving gets to give a choco-pie (a Korean snack) to the person of their choice, and for every year that you sign a contract, you get to give one choco-pie. So, Glenn gave 2 out and I made cookies for people instead because I think choco-pies are disgusting.

Over the weekend, I had a job interview and was hired on the spot by an online teaching company. They want/need me to start right away, so I will be doing a 4-hour training next week (the day before we leave Korea), and I am to start teaching the day after we arrive back in North America. In addition, I have already begun independently teaching an orthopedic surgeon from Japan once a week using Skype and will be teaching my former student, Kenji’s family once a week once we’re back in the Western hemisphere. So much for having the summer off (not that I’m complaining)!

While all that was going on, I started going through our belongings and am giving away a lot of the things we acquired to friends. Other things, we will have to either pack and take with us in our suitcases, or ship home. On Sunday, I went to Seoul with some girlfriends from EV and while I was on the bus, I realized that I was paying attention to what I saw out the window. I remember doing this when I first arrived in Korea, because it was all so new and exciting. After a while, the novelty wore off and I was able to ride by the river overlooking North Korea without a glance, or to coast down the highway without watching Korean families playing soccer and volleyball along the riverbank as we enter Seoul. These are all things that I take for granted now but have realized that I will never again lay eyes on, and I began to feel nostalgia for a world that I have made my own over the last year and a half.

Today, Tuesday, I received my acceptance letter to the Master’s in TESL program that I applied to. I am now officially a graduate student at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico! It is a strange feeling to have one foot in South Korea still, with the other foot in Puerto Rico, knowing that Canada and the US are stepping stones in getting from one place to the other. Talk about culture shock!

One more day of work at EV. It’s hard to believe. I don’t think it will feel real until we’re packed up and getting on the bus to leave EV forever.

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3 Responses to Saying Goodbye to Paju English Village

  1. shaunwebb says:

    That feeling will go away soon enough. I knew you guys could do it. Sucks I wasn’t there to see Glenn do his “closing” speech. Did you record it? Take care!

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