By "The Waegukin"
[T]he main reason I first came to Korea was to force myself to confront fear. Actually, this is not a particularly unusual reason; I’ve met a few people who’ve had similar epiphanies and ended up in Korea because of them.
At the time I had been working from home and living alone for nearly two years. For an introvert this can be an appealing way to arrange your life, but in the long term it’s pretty dangerous to your mental health. For me, I was fine with that for a long while, and then I wasn’t fine anymore, and things fell apart for a bit. When I pulled myself back together, I had as a key understanding that I needed to do something radical with my life; something that would shake me out of my slumber and re-introduce some risk, because I had made things perfectly safe for myself, and that had become a problem.
Shortly after that, I was looking through job advertisements in the hope of finding something different to do, and came across an ad for teaching English in Korea. It was far more “different” than what I had consciously been looking for, and I was immediately gripped by a realization; that the idea was terrifying to me, and that it was also absolutely what I needed to do, and that if I didn’t do it, my realization about what I needed to do with my life was phony, and I was just a coward.
So I started going through the process, and in less than three months I was in Korea, and it was probably the best decision of my life.
Now I am not, despite appearances, a brave traveler. The thought of the unknown is scary to me; the idea of being lost in a city where I don’t speak the language, with nowhere to stay for the night, is and continues to be a great fear of mine. So it wasn’t easy for me to make the decision to come to Korea, but as with most such decisions, the brave option is the better one; it sure beat the hell out of another year of living alone and working from home.
Before I came, I got two pieces of really good advice from....... [Continue Reading]
A few months ago, I tried to write about my first night's experiences (post 46 and 47 and 48 and 49 and 50 and 51 and 52) but I never finished. I never even got to the "punchline". Maybe later. The reason I was able to write so much about that night was that I, too, was definitely scared about coming to Korea and scared when I first arrived. In those circumstances, memories stick, of course.