In all honesty. There are times when I question my decision-making skills.
Obviously, nothing ever develops into that conjured up vision. But recently, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the real reason of why I stayed in Korea. I mean look, I had quite a year – I experienced something completely new, and have gotten to know myself better on my own. So. Why go in a circle?
Look. Teaching is lovely. You get to bond with all these great kids, and slowly see them overcome obstacles to become more brighter and more able to function as normal human beings. They eventually stop the tantrums, the rants of rage, the utter rudeness. They become more understanding and resilient on how they deal with each other. They even say nicer words. “Teacher. You are so wonderful because you have so wonderful hair.” But then, with the job as a whole, there are some days that just make no sense: Why are the bosses suddenly infuriated? Why is there a late meeting today with a woman that needs a translator to express her “
feelings” (complaints)? Why are we not getting paid on time? Why are a majority of mothers bipolar? When the dust eventually settles amidst the whirlwind of pure crazy, you just have to sit down and quietly not decipher anything going on. There is no sound explanation for any of it – you can only swallow it up (maybe with a smidgen of wine), and press on. And on top of all of this, you realize after awhile that it’s easy to become complacent and not give two flying fucks. You know that you’re not going to teach here forever so you slowly stop taking the job seriously. (Maybe you’ve never taken the job seriously from day one..?) This whole thing has just been for the experience – ups, downs, tornadoes, silver linings, all of it. But then comes decision time: do you leave while you have some outrageous and awesome memories, or do you give it another go while hoping for the best?
I obviously chose the latter; My goals were to save more money and get my shit together. It still felt like I had some more growing up to do, and the only way to do so was to remain far away from the comforts of home again. So, after taking a spontaneous trip to Thailand and visiting the parents thereafter, I stayed. Some small adjustments happened: different job (teaching business English to adults), different location (Ingyedong…), different kinds of students (ranging from funny businessmen to tired, unappreciated wives). But pretty much the same grind. Actually, no. That’s not true. That next job was completely surreal. It was like stepping into a clusterfuck, without even realizing you were in one. So many previous teachers were blackballed and then not able to stay in Korea, and apparently the boss was one skeevy individual. On the flip side, the students were usually spectacular – many of them felt like dear old friends. After a few months though, I knew I had better jump ship before something irreversible happened. So after bidding farewell to my students, getting into a car accident with one of the company cars, and suddenly not receiving my last paycheck, it was time to say deuces. Fortunately, my old job had an opening and a ready place for me to stay. I jumped on that – turning down offers were not an option at that time.
At this point, I’m trying really hard not to lose myself. It’s easy to do in an environment like this, with all these pretty, pretty distractions. Therefore, I have been plotting and planning my next big step: where in the world to go next? Two countries are continuing to duke it out in my head, and it really depends on if I want to go to grad school or not. It should be grad school that’s winning – that would be the responsible thing to do. But my craving for adventure is still on the rise. And that’s something that can’t be curbed anytime soon.
So. Australia or Italy?