My Biggest Fears About Living in Korea.

5.27.17 (10:09 KST): Let me just start off by saying that I just Googled “What is a blog?” because I’m still unsure of the etiquette/protocol for updating – but, as many of you know, that’s never stopped me before. Oh well.

Sitting at Starbucks with a black iced coffee, a weird Kenny Chesney Spotify loop going and 38% battery left on my computer, I have the opportunity to think/breathe. I was given a journal from my Cell Group (aka Bible Study) prior to my departure and I started writing on the bus, but my manuscript is Β even harder to read than the thoughts I jot/type – but I wanted to come up with a list of my “biggest fears” of living abroad/Korea while I’m still a “newbie” and hopefully check back on this, at a later date, and see if they have changed/come off the list. Hopefully the list will double as a personality map that will help me grow, in any sense of the word.

Here’s my first list, since I wrote a letter to Santa:
1. Being unintentionally disrespectful/ignorant because I haven’t done enough due-diligence about the Korean culture, language, public transportation protocol, saying “thank you” in the appropriate fashion, etc.

2. The “honeymoon” phase of being in Korea wearing off. As I’ve shoved down your throat before, I had an amazing experience in Korea, last summer. And this journey has literally picked up where that one left off. I can’t be naive enough to believe that everything I experience, everyone I encounter, or everything I taste is going to be perfect, genuine, or great and, as I’ve lived for the past few years, don’t expect or anticipate anyone/anything to blow me away with positivity. Unfortunately, my newest life motto has become that I’m: raising my standards, but lowering my expectations. While that reads as curmudgeonly as it is – I’m hoping that will change, soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying every interaction and meeting with whoever I can and trying to not waste this opportunity. I feel like, if I play my cards right, the “honeymoon” phase could be longer term (than most marriages, these days).

3. Donald Trump’s Twitter feed – just go scroll through it, yourself.

4. Obviously, this list isn’t in an order of importance from 1-X, but the yet-to-come homesickness and missing my family and friends. Thankful that I live in a generation and place that is so hyperconnected, with FaceTime, iMessage, KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, Facebook, Tinder (potentially – and also, potentially not), Snail Mail, and hopefully, visits, these things help me keep the needle in the middle. I told some people, before I left, that I was counting down the days until I have a mental breakdown. Similar to the office pool of when the gal that is pregnant is going to be due, I’m putting the fictitious “X” on the calendar for about 3 months from now. Hopefully, the aforementioned remedies listed can help stave off the homesickness.

5. The professional suicide I feel like I committed, leaving my job to come here to teach English. One of the many questions I asked myself, and was only asked once by a friend (Thanks, Josh Byrwa!) was: What the Hell am I going to do when I come back to the States? I had just signed a year-long contract to come to Korea, but was already worried about 366 days away. Hopefully the amazing connections I’ve made both, personally and professionally, I can keep in touch with while abroad. Until then, I suppose I can’t live here, worrying every day about what I’m going to do…when I’m not here? Oh well.

6. Hating teaching/kids. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty patient and even keeled person. I love kids. And I claim, to this day, that kids probably up to adolescence are probably the only demographic of real raw and genuine people on Earth. They tell you what they want, what they mean and answer honestly. I realized this by getting to hang out with my friend Jen and Sai’s kids – Kylan and Braylen (what’s up, dudes?!). However, after getting to just observe classes for 1 day – I can see the potential adorableness(?) wearing off sooner than later. Yeah, I’m here teaching English…

7. Accidentally turning off “Airplane Mode”. Since I was taken captive by Apple in 2004, I’ve spent the last 13 years tying myself to iTunes, iCloud, and whatever new generation release they come out with, each September. But I am not getting a Korean phone, right away, because I am waiting for the new iPhone to come out later this year…and since I want to be able to keep my “upgrade” from AT&T, I’m going to have to continue to enjoy the ponzi-scheme that I established with them in 2006 to get the new iPhone. Meaning, I’m only available on wifi (which, thankfully, is readily available, everywhere) but it is such a scare to wait for an International Roaming Charge to bend me over.

8. Kimchi. Just like relationships (and sarcasm) it’s either too hot or too sour.

9. Trying not to make obvious/weird/creepy eye contact with this gal that just parked herself at the table next to mine at Starbucks.

10. Trying to balance life and want more at the same time. I’m not sure how this is a fear, as opposed to just being a every day thing that everyone experiences, but I want to put it here for later.

11. North Korea. (See item #3).

11a. One of my big things was to see the difference in the news coverage about NK in SK compared to the US. Maybe it’s just the little tv I’ve been able to see, so far, but they haven’t really made much mention of it…or maybe it’s the language barrier?

12. Ordering a haircut in Korean. Ashley – I’m going to bring you with me, for my first few cuts, so I have a translator with me. Hope I can see you, soon!

13. Wasting time/opportunities to be out and about because I’m writing a stupid blog.

My computer is about dead – and I have to go try and find a power adapter quickly, or else these eloquent blogs are gonna stop, for sure.

I miss whoever is reading this. Come visit!

See ya!

#Korea #Travel #RunOnSentences #Life


Author: benny / man on the side

Blessed beyond belief | I'm raising my standards, and lowering my expectations. | In life's journey, I'm taking the stairs. | Hockey | Ohio to Seoul | Korean adoptee |

5 thoughts on “My Biggest Fears About Living in Korea.”

  1. Ben,

    You only knew a few people when you arrived in Ohio a few years back and no you didn’t know the language either. I was there to witness your few first words of English.

    The same goes for your new home. Gotta take the few awquard first steps. The awesome part is that while you are laughing at the novice interpretations of those you are teaching English to, they will also return the favor when you massacre the Korean pronunciations for the first time.

    After about two months though, you will find yourself in a much more familiar place.

    My time in The Bahamas taught me that and believe me, I was a fish out of water until a few months had passed.

    We are proud of you for taking the leap of faith!
    Don’t screw it up because my Korean sucks worse than my Bahamian “Mon” and I will need a translator when we come to visit.

    Keep you chin up, your ears open and your smile on your face. The rest will all fall into place.

    Your favorite Uncle John

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