Prepping/Stressing for Korea

Hello everyone! As I mentioned about a week and a half ago, I am “taking my talents to Seoul”. Don’t get it? Sorry, that is a play on words from LeBron’s famous taking his talents to South Beach soap opera. (Never thought I’d try to quote a basketball player!)

Anyway, I was scheduled to go to Seoul on Friday, May 19 and be there Saturday. Well, as luck would have it – due to a Korean holiday week, coupled with the bovine pace of the Korean Consulate (Chicago), my Visa and Passport were not going to be back in my possession, in time for me to fly out Friday.

After spending hours on the phone with the Consulate, Delta, my recruiter(s) and my parents – I felt like I needed a cigarette…and I don’t even smoke. I was blessed to have gotten a Delta representative on the phone that was gracious and cared, just enough, to work with me about “changing” my flight details, rather than “cancelling” and making me book a brand new flight. Saving me $1,500.00 USD. Some schools will pay for a teacher’s flight accommodations, MOST will reimburse the teacher for flight accommodations – mine is the latter.

So if getting a few more days to get things together was supposed to ease my nerves, allow me more time at home, etc. – it did. It also amped up my stress, because I am supposed to be starting my first week training on Monday…and will now not land in Korea until Thursday.

With the enormous time difference between EST and KST – communicating my visa status with my school has been about as fluid and timely as getting a text back from a girl I like. My Head Instructor, Owen, and one of the teachers I’ll be working with, Priyesh, have been huge sources of advice, calm and understanding. Since I’ll be missing my training week, I’ll now be subjected to doing training AND teaching my first week – which will result in working hours from 06:30 – ~21:00 (yeah, that’s about a 16 hour day). I understand, with the circumstances, that having to take one for the team is something I’ll have to do – and hopefully I’ll be able to suck it up for the long hours…while adjusting to the +13 hour time difference, to boot. Please send 5 Hour Energy to: xxxxxxxx

Anyway, I’m going to continue to see as many people, as I can, before I leave Wednesday.

Cheers,
Ben

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My Seoul Summary (10.2.16)

I went back to Seoul, South Korea for the first time since I was adopted as an infant. I spent 10 days there and got to meet 7 other Korean adoptees from around the globe, as well as, amazing buddy’s that live in Seoul. This was all made possible by the SWS Welcome Home Program. Here is a very long-winded summary of my trip (I can’t find a way to tell a cliffs notes version of the story). The trip was an emotional rollercoaster and I was able to meet my biological father while I was there, which was completely unexpected. Getting to see and experience the place where I was born and put into perspective how different my life could have been with one single choice that could have been made differently, was mind-boggling. Growing up in Ohio, I always stuck out of every class or team photograph and looked different than all of my friends – but when I was in Seoul, I would notice myself thinking about how I look like everyone else, but feel even more disconnected from them and the culture than I do in the States. It was an incredible experience, that I’ll obviously never forget. The people, culture and FOOD were all amazing! My goal of the trip was to return home with an entire new outlook and appreciation on life and see things through a completely different lens. I can’t wait to go back to Seoul, again!