Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy 100!

And Happy December, too!

This is the 100th post of "Everybody Jecheon Tonight."  I wish that I was made of money or that the blog was sponsored so that I could do a giveaway or something fun like that.  I'd probably give away this shirt if I had that option.

We've been in Korea for roughly 13 weeks, 4 days and 2.25 hours as of this moment.

This is definitely one of the craziest things I've ever done.  I'm not someone who finds joy in the idea of leaving family behind.  And, if not for Ian, I may have never taken this adventure.  Ian was the one who really thought that we should take the opportunity to do something different before we're tied down.  Some days I hate him for that, but generally I am grateful.  I am extremely happy that we have each other in this; it's nice to share the good moments and imperative to have someone in the bad.

Leaving the SeaTac Airport broke my heart and by the time we arrived at Incheon Airport I was a zombie.  In fact, I hardly remember our fist few days here.  I remember the hospital (I wish I didn't).  I remember getting our books in stacks and writing three sets of lesson plans because Julia never gave us directions initially.  I remember our first trips to the grocery stores and how different they looked.

As with any phase in life, living in Korea has it's ups and downs.  It's difficult to convey how isolating it can be here.  We failed to make any strong connections and that certainly doesn't help.  We're learning to cope with the fact that our personalities don't mesh well with Korean culture.  There's a certain loss of identity that I could never have anticipated.  So, we hold tight to any joy we find.  We get to go to Japan for Christmas.  We've met Gene and he seems like he might actually like us.  We're learning to persevere, something I hope American employers like to see.  We're learning to read and speak Korean.  We're learning about the hardships of fitting into a new culture and the racism one faces when doing so.  These aren't experiences that many Americans get, and for all our complaining, we value them.

There are days when I feel truly comfortable here.  And I know there are certain things I will miss when we leave: the kids (and many of the adults we've met), street food, the low cost of living, and plenty of things we haven't discovered yet.  That said, I will rejoice the moment we touch back down at SeaTac airport.  Ian has mentioned kissing the ground on more than one occasion.

If there's something about our three months here that you'd like to know, post your question in a comment and I'll be sure to answer.

We've got a ton of presents to wrap so that we can ship the boxes by the end of this week.


I'll check back for any questions and wonderings.  Good night!


  1. Have you connected with some of the other English teachers there? I thought you had. While they may not have a Julia to contend with, it seems they should still be a good support system about other things. As a solitary person, probably more solitary than is good for me, I think I would enjoy the very things that are most frustrating for you...that of being an outside observer of a fascinating culture so different from our own.

    When I worked in Taholah, I experienced some of what you're dealing with related to stereotypes and some of the racism. I found it fascinating as a white person who had never experienced racism against me before. It sure made me better understand how others feel who face that daily. Of course, I came home (home being back to white culture) at night and got away from that so there was a reprieve, which you're not getting. Nevertheless, it sure made me understand how insidious it is and how it's hard to describe or identify, and how it can make one feel. My respect and sensitivity for those who experience it regularly, maybe even daily, is far greater because of that experience. In your future, it should serve you well.

  2. Judy- While we greatly enjoy the company of the other teachers, we're not a perfect fit and our goings on with them tend to be more awkward than fulfilling. That said, we do like them a lot and we'll continue to hang out with them when opportunities arise.

  3. Happy 100 posting. It is a wonderful blog, and i enjoy it greatly. You are doing a awesome job with it.
    You both have grown in ways you will not fully appreciate or even realize for years to come. This experience will shape who you will become. But I know you already know this.
    I think you both are very brave for doing this, I am proud of you.

    I would like to hear a little more about how the status levels work in the Korean culture, such as the bowing and that sort of thing. I was wondering if you understand it more now that you have been there awhile. Do you see them trying to distance themselves from tradition, to become more western. Do most still do as Confucius taught.

  4. Mom- The hierarchy is firmly in place. But, since a great deal of it has to do with language, we are exempt. You talk to those older than you differently than those younger than you. I think some younger people (like Gene) are trying to get away from those traditions, but they seem to want to leave rather than affect change.

  5. That is interesting. Thank you Sweetie