When we left Korea for Japan in mid-January, the term coronavirus was, itself, novel. At the airport there was a standard number of people wearing face masks—it being flu season in an airport in Asia—but having now been on this side of the world for over a year, a layperson in a face mask didn’t … Continue reading It’s Not All K-Pop and Kimchi
When I lived in Thailand, everything came in a plastic bag. Iced coffees in takeaway cups: bagged; fresh fruit from the market: double bagged. The one that always killed me was when I would stop into a 7-Eleven post-run on a humid evening, red faced and dripping with sweat. I would grab a plastic water … Continue reading Single-Use Plastics
This is going to get honest and personal. You ready? I have always had drive; simultaneously I have always lacked any clear direction. I have struggled with finding something that I feel truly passionate about, and therefore finding somewhere to channel my focus, my energies, and my talents. In college, this uncertainty manifested in choosing … Continue reading Life After Korea: What’s next?
Three weeks in Japan is the recharge I needed to remember the thrill of exploring a foreign country. After enduring eight months of the mundanity of day to day life in small-town Korea, my initial excitement of living abroad had simmered; Japan has revived the enthusiasm. Once again, I am reminded of the joy of … Continue reading Return to Japan
The Korean school year ends with the calendar year, followed by the longer of the two school breaks: winter break. During this time, it is not uncommon for a foreign teacher to be “asked” to host an English Camp at one of their schools, as I was. My instructions were these: the first week of … Continue reading Teacher Update: English Camp
Ah: January. Everyone has long since busted out their puffy jackets—"long padding" as it is referred to here in Korea—and despite people in Muju telling me this is a very weird, snow-less winter, I am still perpetually cold. January is also the time of year when everyone is focused on being their best selves. It … Continue reading 2020: A Year of Living Simply
It is no secret that these past seven months in Korea have been some of the most challenging I have had. As the holidays approach my homesickness is amplified, making it all the more difficult to be here and not at home with my family. However, the holidays also offer a unique opportunity to reflect … Continue reading Giving Thanks
It is safe to say that my feelings about my students change daily, sometimes by the minute. Some days they are engaged, funny, and enthusiastic; we joke and laugh, and time passes quickly. Other days, nobody listens or cares, they whine and carry on, and the minutes tick by like hours. However, through the ups … Continue reading Give Me More Kindergartners
People in Korea are afraid of English. Deathly terrified. There are exceptions, yes: there always are. But my experience these past six months can be characterized by this general fear. The look I get from the coffee shop worker when I come up to order is one of sheer panic. When the woman at the … Continue reading Understanding Our Differences
Summer has hit here in Korea... oh man. We are talking 100 degree days, 100% humidity, and UV index levels of 11 (read: extreme!). On days we get a little relief from the glaring sun, it pours down rain (did I mention 100% humidity?). Unlike in Oregon, where summer rain brings a clean sense of … Continue reading Humidity, Hiking, and Hopeful Thinking
Finally—finally!—after over 2 months of teaching in Korea, I had a week that felt like a win. Did I mention: finally?! Let me get one thing out of the way: the whole teaching thing? I don't love it. Quite honestly, it is frustrating and stressful and I want to like it more than I do. … Continue reading Week 10: A Win
I’ve never had a job—or, in my many years of schooling, a schedule—so jarringly emotionally inconsistent as being an English teacher in Korea. Seriously. One day things will be great: the bus will come on time; I will get to school early and the other teachers will be in a great mood, offering me coffee … Continue reading Girl vs. Korea
Being away from home is hard because life goes on without you. It's lonely to sit in your apartment FaceTiming your family as they stuff their faces with turkey and mashed potatoes, or open presents on Christmas morning. It's hard to miss out on the every day things, too: the football games and fishing trips … Continue reading Homage to Oma
For the months leading up to our big move, I tried to keep my expectations of what was to come in Korea low, nonexistent even. In a situation that was totally out of my hands, speculating about where I would be placed, what my school would be like, or what my apartment might have seemed … Continue reading Week 1: Making the best of things
It’s the eve of the day marking one month since we arrived in Japan. We are in Fukuoka, and it’s the first night of our last stop before heading to South Korea. We walk through the clean city streets with significantly more awareness than when we first arrived in the country: we know to wait … Continue reading Sakura, Sakura
When I told people I was moving to Thailand, a common reaction (after the confused surprise) was, “You are going to eat such good food over there!” Let me just say: Thailand has not disappointed. There is so much good food here—but there’s one catch that I forgot to think about: in a land where … Continue reading One Part Chiles, Two Parts Kindness
After talking broadly about the trips I have taken, I thought I would use this post to chronicle a glimpse of what I experience on the day-to-day, specifically each morning at school. Typically, I arrive around 7:50 when the teacher on side gate duty is impatiently holding the gate open for the last students sprinting … Continue reading Goodmorning, Teachaaa
This weekend was a weekend of, “We’re doing it.” At the beginning of last week we learned that the following Tuesday was a holiday; as it was the late king’s birthday, it is now celebrated as Thai Father’s Day and school would be cancelled in observance of it. This sounded like the perfect time to … Continue reading We’re Doing It: Krabi Weekend Getaway
One month living in Thailand, and the biggest lesson I've learned thus far? There is no right way to do any of this stuff. This lesson isn't specific to living abroad; arguably, it is a principle of life in general. We are all on our own journey, picking the path we are going to take, … Continue reading Rivers & Roads (but in this case mostly roads)
This week has passed in waves; I have experienced highs of feeling very confident, and lows of feeling very lost and defeated. Mostly, I've found that I feel anxious when I am out of the classroom. When I am in the office lesson planning (aka struggling with the questions of what on Earth to teach … Continue reading I Survived My First Week as a Teacher!!
As I settled in last night for my first night alone since I got to Thailand, I was feeling uneasy. I had anticipated that sitting by myself in my empty apartment would elicit feelings of insecurity and doubt, and boy was I right. I went to sleep feeling anxious. I set an alarm for the … Continue reading Small Victories
In a few short days, with my one-way ticket and single-entry, non-immigrant visa in hand, I will begin my journey to the other side of the world -- more specifically, Thailand. Months of preparation and excitement have, this week, culminated in a jumble of nerves. So here I am, nervously typing out my thoughts on my impending departure.
What inspires a person to get up and leave her comfortable lifestyle? Uproot, and move half a world away from the places and the people that have, up until this point, always defined her?