I am alive and well in South Korea. It’s been all a bit crazy, and I don’t think it’s really sunk in that i am here.
First things first, the EPIK orientation was an intense process, which felt at times rather like a gulag. On the other hand, it was an amazing experience with some truly kind people. Overall I think it’s really handy having that as a buffer between teaching and living in Korea.
EPIK orientation is a lot like freshers at university, a bunch of relatively young people thrown into a completely new environment. For the most part I really enjoyed it, but there is a sense that you are being treated as a baby, especially around the curfew and the rules. It’s also a great chance to meet new people and suss out those people you’ve been talking to for months on Kakao.
EPIK orientation days are long and tiring, and pretty boring. The exception being the field trip, which allowed us the opportunity to break free of the campus and feel like adults again. So for the most part your hand will be held, and you will feel a lot younger again.
After getting used to living with a stranger and the canteen food, the bubble is soon popped. Towards the end you will find out where you are going. This prompted a mix of sheer terror and excitement. When I found out that I got east seoul, I was initially disappointed, but in reality i feel pretty lucky to live here.
After that you’re thrown on a coach and then thrown on the side of the street where you will meet your co-teacher(s). My CT’s where a bit older, and seemed very nice. They drove me to my nice modern apartment and bought me a meal. One of them stayed with me for hours at immigration to help with my ID card.
All in all, I can’t really complain about my situation. I have a good apartment, good CT and a good school. I certainly feel things could be a lot worse, and they may well do so. But for now it seems to be going well.
It’s all been bit of a whirlwind, and I still slightly feel like I’m on holiday. It’s the small things that make your time here really nice, like a helpful monk, or having wifi in your room, or having a working phone.
It’s tough moving here, and at times I found it really hard. I still find it hard sometimes, and I do cry on the odd occasion. However, I feel happy here, even know my money is dwindling quickly.
Thanks all for sending me positive messages of encouragement. It’s amazing what a good sleep and some great Malaysian food can do for ones body and mind. Although, I’m pretty anxious about Korea, i’m starting to feel more prepared and genuinely looking forward to it.
The flight from the UK to Kuala lumpur was relatively smooth. Although looking back an 8 hour connection is probably too long. I could hardly get any sleep at Doha, mainly due to the fact I was worried about loosing my hand luggage, and the chairs were not very comfortable. Effectively I travelled for around 24 hours, with around an hours sleep. This meant I was incredibly tired and stressed, and I broke down a number of times.
I’m seriously doubting whether or not I should even go to Korea. I know that moving to a different country is never an easy process, but what I’m super aware of is being completely honest with my emotions. I don’t want to think everything will be fine in Korea, when it could be the complete opposite.
I had a nightmare about something going wrong in Korea, and me being isolated from my family and friends. That’s a situation that I do not want to find myself being in. I’ve lived abroad, and I understand the adjustment phase is never an easy process. What I’m now asking is, “do I really want to go through that again?”
I certainly don’t want to waste peoples time, and Korea, or any foreign country is not the time or the place to find yourself. I’m annoyed that I didn’t seriously think about this before I left, as it would of made things a lot easier.
I’m not going to make an immediate decision as that would be crazy, but this week before orientation I need to decide on whether to stay or go.
One thing I love is to de-clutter, moving abroad has afforded me a great opportunity to get ride of my childhood, from my old room. As I was clearing through the books and clothes, I came across a journal that I must of written when I was around 13/14. I thought it was pretty funny, so I’m going to share the entries with you!
Friday 21st December
I finished school today at one, that Ben is just so annoying, he always says to me “calm down”.
I quite fancy that Lucy, I can’t wait until I see Lord of the Rings. I don’t see the point of going into town. Most people think that their hair comb is the most important thing, although this is mainly girls though.