Last Tuesday, I picked up fellow EPIKers one at the Train Station in CT and the rest in MA on the way to the Korean Consulate in Newton, MA. The ride up was a lot of fun and it was interesting meeting new people for the first time face to face. Nothing like getting to know each other than saying, “Hey….I know you on facebook, you wanna go to the consulate together?” *Gasps of horror* Strangers entered my car and they were all fabulous ladies!…
I was reflecting on my progress with learning Korean and if I think of how long I have self-studied the language it seems like a disappointment. I learned how to read Korean back in 2006 with the help of a Saturday Korean class run by Korean students at Amherst college. This helped me a lot when I went to study abroad that summer and placed in level 4 of level 6 for the beginner Korean classes. And so years went by, I have watched numerous Korean dramas and listened to Korean music over the years. I dated and was married to a Korean man for a total of 6 years. I was able to converse in basic sentences over the phone and in person with his friends and family. At one point I even held a 1 hour conversation mostly in Korean with my sister-in-law.…
One thing that has bothered me most about leaving is packing. I have no idea what to pack. Not only do I not know what I truly need to pack, but rather what am I required to bring. So I decided to make two packing lists. After talking to many people and reading various blogs about living abroad; most suggest to bring a piece from home or something to make your new place homey. With that in mind I have come up with 5 items that no matter what are coming with me.…
One item I have been requested to do before I leave is to eat all of the food that is mine. There are odds and ends in all of the cupboards for various types of cooking, but my mom wants her space back after I leave. So my job has been to create meals with the remaining ingredients. At times I am lazy that I do not want to cook anything or look for the missing ingredients I need. I used to cook a lot of Korean food, however, as it is just me I am cooking for with maybe the exception of my mom, I do not cook much. I like leftovers occasionally, however, I dislike eating the same thing for five days. With that being said one of the items sitting in my cabinet for a while has been미역( Miyeok / Seaweed). The only thing I know how to make is 미역국 (Miyeok gook/seaweed soup). But I have been unenthusiastic about going out to buy a missing ingredient. So tonight as I was feeling rather sick and did not feel satisfied after eating a can of nasty Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, I ventured out to the store to buy the remaining ingredients.…
On Tuesday, my NOA (Notice of Appointment) and contract arrived in the mail. I was excited to finally have my paperwork. I
felt like for the first time through this whole process with EPIK, I could say it is official… I am hired. I knew I passed my interview in November and on Christmas Day I found out that I was placed in Gangwon Province (강원도). But the reality is until the contract and NOA were in my hands it meant nothing. So even though I knew that I was going to teach English in Korea, it had not hit me that I was leaving.
Over the course of the last few months and the few weeks to come I have
been thinking of the people to say good-bye to. My mom supports me 100%
in this process and knows this is something I have always wanted to do
and have put on hold for many years. She has become a bit of a ‘sap’ as I
jokingly say. In reality, she is just going to miss her baby, the
oldest, me. So, for Christmas I made her a present made of wire and
buttons and made it into a tiny bouquet. A bouquet that will not die
when I am away. She was a bit touched and it made her happy. Nothing
professional but it seems to have come out rather cute. Sometimes a
little gift of saying “Thank you for believing in me,” helps say I will
miss you while I am away.
I will be on a plane in 5 weeks to South Korea. I was thinking back to every time I have gone back and visited. Of all the times I have been, I grew the most during my study abroad summer program with Yonsei University in 2006. It was my second time to Seoul and I was ready to learn and travel. The feeling of being able to walk around in a different country, order myself a meal and take public transportation without help was amazing. I learned that I am a very independent person and opportunities like this truly open doors and the mind. Sitting here reflecting back on that time I realize the person who I was then was more confident, happier, and willing to take what the world had to give.
I was even willing to make an ass out of myself by running down the street from 번대기 (fried silkworm pupae) on a toothpick. I didn’t want to eat it so I ran yelling, “I’m not eating that!” down a street in Seoul. Oh, the things we do when we are young. Trying 생낙지 (live octopus) was daunting the first time. I cried watching it move on the plate in front of me. Eventually my ex put it in my mouth to eat and I realized it wasn’t so bad. So from here on out I’m looking to find that old inner confidence of mine on this new journey and try new food, visit new places, make mistakes while learning Korean, and slowly working my way through each day teaching.