Half a year update

It’s been a little over 6 months since I’ve arrived in Korea.

I have felt so many emotions. There were times I struggled, but I’ve conquered so much. I am, undoubtedly, thriving.

There are times I feel like I’ve lived here for an eternity. Times where I’ve almost completely forgotten my life before Korea.

The year leading up to before I left for Korea was a difficult time for me for a multitude of reasons. At times it was a struggle juggling a full course load at college, working, student teaching full time, and completing my EdTPA certification. There were times when my personal life wasn’t doing the best either. I remember getting all of my materials together to apply for this Fulbright grant. Despite 16+ hour days I found it in me stay up late and rewrite my essays over and over again to perfection. I had less than 2 months to prepare and submit my application, while some people have an entire year to get feedback from university faculty and recalibrate their efforts. I wanted this so. badly. When I would get tired or discouraged, I would take a moment to close my eyes and imagine myself walking through different Korean landscapes. And it would ignite something in me to keep pushing through those sleep deprived nights.

Nowadays, all of that seems like a distant memory from a past life. I am completely reaping what I’ve sewn and loving every minute in this country. However, with my brief trip to America coming up soon, all of this is flooding back to me. I’m remembering how hard I worked to be here, and when I do that, my time here seems so small. These 6 months have flown by and I know the next 6 months will do the same. Although I’ve really taken advantage of my time here, I’m not sure if I’ll be ready to leave yet when the time comes. I still feel like I have so much life to live here.

Cheongju, my city that I’m placed in, has really transformed into a sort of a 5th appendage of myself. It has become a home to me and I find myself wanting to protect it so dearly. It’s personal and precious to me, and I can’t help but even feel a little possessive over it. It watched me flourish and adjust to this new job, new family, and new culture. When I take the bus at night around town I feel at peace looking out the window and seeing the city. My city, it feels like. I can’t bear the thought of leaving and never seeing it again. I’m not sure if, at this point in time, my heart could handle it.

I’m halfway through. Right now, I’m on a long winter break from school. I’ll start teaching classes again in March with new co-teachers and a fresh set of first year high school students. And then in mid-July, I’ll be done. Finished. I’ll return home and it’ll be like this entire year didn’t even exist. People back home will ask how my year was, but they won’t really understand, even if I explain myself as articulately as possible. I’ll get a full-time teaching job and probably stay at the same district for 30 years. And I will never be able to experience another Korean autumn with beautiful golden rice fields again. Or wear hanbok while walking through cherry blossom trees in the spring.

And it hurts. It’s very painful to think about everything in such finite terms. But it’s the truth. I can always briefly visit Korea again in the future during the summer, but after I leave in July, I will never be able to live in Korea, to thrive in Korea again.

Here’s to another 6 months.

7 thoughts on “Half a year update”

  1. Christina Sweetheart; Your experience there in South Korea is very moving to the he very center of the heart…
    You are experience over there has been all immersive for you.
    Sometimes, under these conflicting circumstances, your intuition may guide you best. The future is an unknown factor.(Prehaps maybe requesting to stay on in some other relevant capacity, for awhile longer, to see how things develop….This, if that’s what you feel.
    Or perhaps, working outside the box, in some other location, or something else, if your intuition tells you).
    I knew someone who had a nice that work in South Korea and loved it so much she renewed her stay, 3 times, (3 years), and then as things developed, felt it was time to move on, returning back here.
    You have some time to think over what your intuition may tell you.
    Love Dad, and Mom

    Like

  2. Christina,
    It is so heartwarming and comforting to know how much you love your stay in Korea with such a wonderful family and job and travel. You are young and have many years of exploring to do. So while we miss you and look forward to seeing you, you really can live wherever you want and do whatever you put your mind to! Now is the time to take advantage of every opportunity!
    Much love, Mom.and Dad

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  3. You’ve accomplished so much in a relatively short period of time. You’ve done so many amazing things (proven by your excellent photography skills). I know how much work you’ve put into this, and I also know that you’ll enjoy the rest of your stay in Korea.

    Love Bobby D.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Christina, we really enjoy your blog. You are a natural writer. Good luck and keep reporting on your stay as an envoy and teacher.
    Love,
    U.Tom, A. Sylva

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE reading this Haley! You are a bright light in this world wherever you are 🌟💫✨☀️Thank you Christina for this amazing blog😊

    Like

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