I am prepping to do my nightly workout and pondering what to write about Korea. Ive been reading up on what everyone else has been writing on tumblr, their stories, their feelings…
My December is a waste really. My first and second graders had speaking tests for the majority, then final exams. Two weeks left till the end of the semester and then a new group of fun loving Korean first graders. My third graders are checked out; I havent taught them since before thanksgiving. Ive been plotting vacations, been plotting my escape really. I love Korea, but I dont think I could stay another year. Sometimes I feel like im losing out on so much at home, or maybe im just romanticizing the whole idea that my future is all planned out. Anywho, I hate the feeling that im stagnating here. I sit at my desk most of the day this cold month and read news. I use the bathroom when I want, say hi to students as they run past me, chat to some of my Co teachers, but not really at the same time. Its an interesting experience I wouldnt change for the world, but I cant find myself staying, at least not for the right reasons (the kids, not the convenience of money.) I enjoy 75 percent of my classes, but those four classes that just dont care, or are loud, or think im a joke just suck the life out of me. Who knows, maybe next semester things will change, maybe I’ll get pulled in and convinced for another year of adventure.
My opinions on some of these cities are as follows:
Daegu is pretty big but not overwhelming. I feel like these cities are gatherings for westerns where they create this bubble of the country, it hardly feels like Korea. It bothers me to some extent that there is a divide between us and them. I hate the bubble.
Busan, is massive and not unlike Daegu. This bubble idea exists here layered with consumerism that only Korea could create, (at least ive convinced myself). The train system is gigantic but not as big as Seoul. Its big enough to remind me of my home town of New York. This reminder makes me despise public transportation, but also appreciate The size of NY and the relative ease of traveling there. (Express Trains I love you)
My first impression of Seoul: Massive and too many people. I stepped out of Myeong-dong station and wanted to combust into a pile of ashes. Its comparable to Soho on a Saturday afternoon. But worse I would say, without the charm of Manhattan’s architecture and chinatowns lovely smell of garbage.
I love Gyeongju. I am thankful for the city, its quaint character, its historical charm, the fact that if I wanted to I could take my bike and ride for 45 minutes and be at one of the foremost temples in Korea. I love the fact that im snuggled in between mountains. I love the fog that covers the mountain ranges in the mornings and when it rains.
I love Korea, in the sense that It has a lot to offer. The nature, the freedom, the disgusting consumerism that is comforting in a sense. Korea is a place of extremes. Im glad I have another 8 months to explore it. Im glad that I have another 8 months to try and make an impression on these young korean boys, so that maybe, they will look at the world a bit differently after meeting me.