I’ve decided to take the time to write an ‘ordinary’ blog about daily life…taking time away from my Bali posts. Its terrible, I know, it’s been almost two months since Bali (Where did the time go?).
As many of you know, we’ve been living in Korea over 7 months now. In one way it feels like longer, and in other ways, quite short. Sometimes I wake up freaking out all over again about living in a foreign land, working as a TEACHER..of which I did NOT study in college for, and trying to pay foreign bills to companies that don’t speak a lick of English. Sometimes I wake up ready to soak up the quiet, peaceful life we’ve established here. Its like we’re living in a bubble, or a haze. You spend more time in silence throughout the day than you normally would, not by pure choice, but by a barrier that keeps you from it all. The language. The culture. The way of life. Everything is so different here. I have yet to face a day when I do not confuse at least one ‘local’ by my ever-so-skillful game of charades I play to try and communicate. Sometimes it actually works, other times you end up getting something you don’t want, or maybe paying way more than expected for something you do want. It can get frustrating at times, but its forever a lesson on patience and humility.
After living here for seven months, I think we have a slight grasp on what our lives will be like for the next few years. Yes, I said it…few years. We came over here knowing we’d be staying for a while, and that’s how long we’ve decided. Unless God changes the plan of course!
I honestly feel like this is my home. The fish and underground sewer smell is something you get used to. The maniac way of driving, including running red lights and parking in the middle of the street to run into the bank real quick is feeling more ‘normal.’ The not-so-american-friendly food choices don’t bother me as much anymore. Could it be that i’ve adjusted to ‘living in another language?’ The answer is not so simple. Its just not.
The hard part is relationships. Most expats living on Geoje Island, or anywhere in Korea for that matter, don’t stay very long. Perfect example: My dearest friend Harriet (from South Africa), whom God really blessed me with, went home this weekend. It was a gift to have her as a true, honest, loyal, and giving friend for the past 6 months. We really grew close the last two months, and she was one of the biggest breaths of fresh air i’ve had in a long time. You see, moving around to 3 different places (neighborhoods, states, countries) will definitely dampen your hopes of having a close friend stick to your side through it all. Derik will aways remain my #1 best friend, but every girl needs her girlfriends as well…and the same goes for guys. I was so glad to have Harriet, and I know we will remain friends for life.
Really though, what is my favorite part about being in Korea? The simplicity. Its waking up everyday next to the love of my life, going to work and talking to eager children all day (ok some aren’t so eager…), and doing something new or refreshing the weekends/holidays.
Its eating the same food each day. Fruits, veggies, homemade bread (I havent bought a loaf of bread in 4 months. Im not lying.), noodles, rice, and chicken. On occasion beef and hotdogs (that is if we’ve made a trip to Costco). Living here makes you learn to eat to live, not live to eat. You dont realize how gluttonous a majority of the US has gotten when it comes to food until you’ve lived somewhere that has the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The simplistic life is also about learning that you don’t always have to talk. You don’t always have to say things. You don’t always have to carry on a conversation. Actions speak louder than word right? I think back in the states it was so hard to have that ‘moment of silence.’ I know that I was guilty of this. I’d turn on the radio, talk on my cell phone, carry on a meaningless conversation with someone I don’t even know to fill in the ‘dead silence’ time. Believe it or not, I used to be quite the talker. I can honestly say, i’m not that way anymore. Im an observer. I like people watching. I like knowing who people are by their actions not necessarily by what they say. Whether this is a good thing, or a bad habit i’ve picked up, I don’t know.
Then what do I miss from back home? My family. My friends. The fact that a three hour flight doesn’t seem so bad when you are living in a country where it’s instead a 18 hour flight to get back home. $300 dollars to fly across the country doesn’t seem so bad when you look at the tickets home here and they’re going anywhere from $1500 to $2500 to get back home. There are so many people I’d love to sit down and have a nice cup of coffee and a long chat with. It makes me physically ache inside that i’m missing out on special moments from people’s lives that wont happen again.
I thought i’d miss the food, maybe 3 months ago I would have said I do miss the food, but now I don’t. I don’t miss eating over processed, fatty, sugary, nothingness. I don’t miss junk food anymore (aka mint oreos), I don’t miss pizza. I every now and again miss avocados being 2 for a $1, when here its 1 for $4, or fresh Oregon blueberries being $3 for a carton, when here it’s $8.
I miss casual conversations with strangers. I know this totally throws of what I said before about liking the silence…but I do miss the once in a blue moon conversations with someone in the middle of target, or at a restaurant and brewery, or even as little as someone saying: “I like your boots.”
I miss the gas prices. Yes I said it. What I didn’t realize when I got here…was that gas almost in every other country besides the US is twice if not three times more expensive than the States. Gas here is about 8 dollars a gallon. If those prices ever reached US? Geez…people would be dusting off their ol’ buggy and getting the horse in shape.
Lastly, (probably because I have writers block and can’t currently think of what else i’m missing) I miss big, strong, American dogs. Yes. Sounds stupidly strange…but here in Korea, a big dog is a rarity. They specialize on breeding for tiny, tiny dogs. I’ve seen dogs so small I wasn’t sure if it was a dog or a guinea pig. They also dye their dogs hair and paint their fingernails. Im talking about hot pink, turquoise blue, canary yellow colors folks. Its an everyday occurrence that i’ll be walking to school and out of the corner of my eye there ‘skuttles’ a pastel pink toy pomeranian. Strangest sight I ever have seen. Where are my All-American labs? Golden retrievers? Great danes? Heck I’ll even take a mastiff, a doberman, or a rottweiler…just give me a dog with some ‘mass’ and ‘size’ that could actually do some damage if it wanted to. First thing I’m gonna do when we move back? Get a dog. Most likely one that’s going to grow up to be a horse.
So that’s my life right now, all wrapped up in a neat little package. Life is great, life is hard, life is a learning process, life is constantly changing. But i’m embracing it.
Next post? Elephant Safari! Get excited.