This week marks my 10th month in Korea, to which I say... whaaaat?! I feel like people always say "oh time really flies over here, your year will be up before you know it!" and every month or two I think to myself, "wow I can't believe it's already insert-month-name-here," but really truly honestly and seriously, time in Korea actually moves quicker than in America. It's science. Contractually, I'm scheduled to return home about two months from now at the end of August, but I made a relatively big decision recently to stay in Korea a bit longer than originally planned. Not an entire 2nd year, but three terms (9 months) which keeps me here until the end of May 2014. I decided to stay for a number of reasons.
1. I don't know what the hell I'm going to do when I come home. I mean yeah I could take up residence at 64763 Saros Lane, but I don't think any family member involved would be too happy about that. Job-wise I could probably still pull shots and appease NW coffee snobs, but do I really want to? Not even a little bit. The thought of going back to school doesn't make me terribly excited, although I realize it's a necessary evil to be able to teach in the states, which I've come to understand is definitely what I would like to be doing. So that being said, there are plenty of programs that start in June/at the end of the school year that I need to start looking into, and by then I'll have saved a bit of money, hopefully paid off my loans, and will be able to jump right back into school (oh and take more loans - yipee)! Staying here buys me time, allows me to do what I enjoy doing for work, and keeps me from being homeless and poor, basically.
2. I love my job, simple as that. I am in no way, shape, or form interested in working another minimum wage job where I never feel satisfied or happy with what I've spent my entire day doing. Sure sometimes it's tough here and certain classes are less fun than others, but this is the first time in my life where I can say I truly enjoy what I do for work. Sorry, Mt. Bachelor espresso cart.
3. My life is really easy here. I'm moving into a new apartment (read: window! larger! separate bedroom and normal shower!) in a few days, which is going to be a beautiful change from the crap hole I've been living in since August. I have a group of really lovely friends here (although don't get me wrong, I would do unspeakably terrible things to be able to have some of my friends from home over here as well) and they make it so fun to be living and working over here, I rarely feel lonely or like I don't have anybody here that I can really depend on. We do fun stuff on the weekends, even if it is just going out somewhere in Seoul and dancing and drinking til our heads explode (not literally drinking til our heads explode, calm down mom), or if it's venturing off to some other part of Korea to explore and see all the different areas of this country, I feel like I've done quite a lot in the time I've been here. I'm not quite ready to leave, as I don't feel I've done and seen enough of what Korea has to offer.
4. Travel! I have a holiday coming up at the end of the summer which conveniently falls right after a pretty large paycheck due to summer intensives, so I'm hoping to go somewhere fun and tropical (read: Thailand, Philippines...) for those days we get off. Plus my school is giving me two weeks to come home for Christmas, which is the hugest bonus in my opinion! Also I'll have another holiday around my birthday next February, and I'll be able to go somewhere else then as well, plus any travel I can figure out after I complete my contract. I wouldn't be able to do any of this if I left Korea, which would be a major buzzkill.
5. I'm learning Korean (for reals)! I've been studying for about 3 months off and on, 2 months and change in a classroom with a text book, and one month or so just by myself with e-books or online lessons. I'm trying to make some Korean friends (without trying to marry them first, the boys I mean) to help me practice because I really would like to be able to speak it comfortably... if not fluently, but we'll see! I think it's a pretty fun language, difficult, but interesting. I figure if I've just put this time into learning it now, what's the point of leaving two months later? Might as well stay and get super good at it! At this point I'm pretty pathetic when it comes to speaking Korean, I can read it just fine and write it decently enough, but my language skills are lacking. I do, however, know how to say "I like Korean men." We'll see how often that one comes in handy.
I'm sure there are plenty of more reasons why I'm staying, but those are the big ones that come to mind. Having said this, I'll be home for Christmas for two whole weeks and I'm going to try and fit in as many visits as possible then. Hopefully some of the fam decides to participate in the almost-annual Bend Christmas trip (hint hint Brittany...) so I can kill every bird with one stone (just kidding I would never kill a bird). And now all of you have more time to come visit me since I'll be here for another 11 months! I know, I'm so thoughtful, always thinking of you people.