Musings

On ‘Culture Shock’

I’ll freely admit it, I’m a bloody awful blogger as soon as something major happens in my life. Some people (perhaps most people) find that to channel big changes into something creative is the best way to manage the change itself…maybe this is what years ago made someone a dedicated diary writer, and now makes for a successful blogger. I have recently realised that I am the exact opposite of these people, and deal with significant change by  completely ignoring it until it either goes away or becomes manageable purely by virtue of the fact that I have been ‘getting on with it’ for a long enough time. Unfortunately, this makes for a crappy travel blog, and for that I apologise.

However, there’s no point crying over spilled Maekkoli. In this post I’ll attempt to detail my own (confused) feelings on the dreaded ‘Culture Shock’.


A Week In The Life

I have long since decided that attempting to detail the day to day goings on of my life in Korea is absurdly impractical. As such I intend to take the easy way out, occasionally providing you with a snapshot image of the life of an EPIK teacher as and when my schedule/brain allows. Having just finished my first week of teaching, this seems like as good a time as any to begin.

I realised a long while ago that each year EPIK teachers are essentially entered into a huge ‘employment/living lottery‘, of which not everyone is aware of. I have heard tales of GETs (Guest English Teachers – us) finding themselves in near perfect situations as many times as I have heard of people living and working in Hell itself. The draw does not seem to discriminate by experience, creed or colour and therefore, I suppose, is as fair as it is possible to be. I imagine this doesn’t make it any easier to take if you pull a short straw.


“I’m An Alien, I’m No Longer An Illegal Alien, I’m A British Woman In Busan…”

Or: How to finish work early and get home late. 


The 30 Day Travel Challenge

Facebook is awash with these 'thirty day challenges'.


The Road Home

The road back home after any trip abroad is often one filled with mixed feelings. Part of you is probably happy to be returning home and another part, often larger, is sad to be leaving behind what has hopefully been an eventful and enjoyable time in your life. Even in the case of my four months in Korea, which had definitely been more pain than pleasure, I left Korea with a great deal of sadness.

 


Leavin' on a Jet Plane

If you're not a friend of mine on Facebook (and why aren't you!?) you may not be aware that I today decided not to pursue a new position here in Korea once my current one ends in a few weeks time. My love for Korea certainly hasn't diminished and it will be hard to leave behind the good friends - both old and new - that I have on this tiny little peninsula.

 


Break-Ups and Goodbyes

I've made mention before of the single greatest downside of traveling and living abroad - and that's having to say goodbye to good people. Some of them, such as my good friend Byron, are the kind of people you know you'll stay in touch with well after they've left your immediate proximity. Others pass out of your life with a bunch of drunken fanfare, remain Facebook friends for a year or two, and then become just another participant in an anecdote you tell your shiny new friends.

 

This past week I've had two very different goodbye experiences. On Tuesday evening my girlfriend Kimberly and I parted ways. While it was a relatively new relationship (only a couple of months) it's never a fun or easy thing to split with somebody who you have had fun with and shared such feelings with. This past week has been the hardest I've had since returning to Korea.

 


Progress Report

It's been a shade over two months since I got to Korea and it's high time that I give everybody back home (and around the world) an update on how life in Korea has been treating me this time around. Despite having near two years of experience with this confusing and sometimes frustrating corner of the world, Korea has managed to dish up plenty of fresh challenges for me in my third stint in the land of the morning calm.

 


Goodbyes

This one was written over a month ago now in the wake of the ending of my relationship with Fallon. I wasn't sure I wanted to post it, but it seems right that such a significant period in my life be commemorated on my site. I've not edited it at all since I wrote it in early January.

Goodbyes are a common part of life on the road. Differing itineraries and budgets mean that no friendship or relationship on the road can last forever. Eventually you'll have to part ways and experience that bittersweet mix of emotions as you're both grateful for the time you've had with a person and sad that the time was not longer.

For almost two years I was lucky enough to have shared a path with Fallon. Having met at a house party in Gwangju, we bonded over our mutual hatred of night clubs and our mutual closeness to our families.


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