Well, I guess I’ve officially been living in Korea for two months?
It’s pretty unbelievable to see eight weeks pass by so quickly. It feels like only a week ago I was at Toronto’s Pearson airport, bawling my eyes out after saying bye to my parents into my last cup of Timmies for a year. Now, it’s October. Autumn is finally starting to settle in here and it finally feels as if I am as well.
Korea is opposite in every way from Canada. I still don’t really understand why and how things operate the way that they do in this country. Why do I have to eat rice three times a day to avoid concerned stares from my coworkers? Why can’t I buy a single banana and am instead forced to get 14? Why did I turn a year older the moment I got off the plane? How do my online orders get delivered in less than 24 hours (…witchcraft)? I really don’t have the answers to these mysteries, but, Korea and all of its quirkiness is slowly starting to grow on me.
Has everything been smooth sailing up until this point? Absolutely not. There have been days where I wanted to cry, scream, laugh, and rip my hair out (especially now that I’ve accidentally dyed it black) all at the same time. After experiencing a roach infestation in my apartment, I was ready to pack up my bags and fly right back to Toronto. My parents would’ve killed me. So I didn’t, and instead found a way to coexist (declare war against) with with my new roommates. The language and cultural barriers are still difficult everyday. Most of the time I feel like a fish out of water. But, up until now I seem to have survived. I’ve even managed some borderline-significant and some not-so-significant accomplishments in my strange, new, Korean life.
I found out where I can buy a cucumber! If you don’t know why I’m bringing this up, click here to read about my original struggle. Yup. A month ago this seemed like an impossible feat. Now, I am proud to announce that I am consuming more cucumbers than I ever thought possible!
I am now a self-proclaimed roach exterminator. A month ago I cried, cursed a sh*t load, and was on the brink of a nervous breakdown when I discovered cockroaches in my apartment. I ripped the curtain off my window and threw it onto my balcony when one of my tormentors was playing a lengthy, suspenseful game of hide-and-seek with me. Now, when I see one scurrying through my apartment, I remain cool as a cucumber. I’ve adopted a few relatively painless and efficient methods to get rid of them quicker than it took me to permanently ruin and rip my whole curtain off my window.
I can read Korean! Kind of, sort of. I mean, does it count if I have no clue what I’m actually reading? I can read enough now to not get on the wrong bus again headed to the middle of nowhere. I’ll spare you the details of my embarrassing journey.
I can spit out a load of random words in Korean like washing machine, garlic and watermelon. Though, I have yet to link these three items in the same sentence. If you can form a practical sentence with these three words, let me know. I am super eager to put them to good use.
I’ve survived a dog, raccoon and crane attack. People say what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Yeah, I’m still here. Although, I’ve had to reroute my evening run to avoid a crane reemerging from a pond to attack me, as I “allegedly” trespassed on its turf a few too many times.
I’ve discovered my new passion in life. It’s become a bit of an obsession, maybe even a love affair. Patbingsu – a wondrous dessert concocted with shaved ice and an endless list of toppings like mango, melon, and red bean. I’m in the works of a business plan to bring patbingsu to the masses back in Canada. Stay tuned Toronah.
I’ve finally become comfortable with teaching. When I first started my new gig, I had zero experience – I didn’t have a single clue how to teach English to kids who didn’t speak English. Yeah, you figure that one out. I still have no clue what I’m doing, but I seem to have gained the affection and respect of (most) of my students, leaving me to bribe the ones that don’t with stickers and chocolate. You can’t win them all.
Well, that lightly summarizes the first two months of my big, weird Korean adventure. I’m sure I’ll be confronted with an endless slew of peculiar obstacles over the next 320 days. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to strip the black hair dye out of my hair. Can’t wait to see what unexpected events I will encounter during my third month and to tell you all about them.