I looked at the calender today and had a moment. (For legal purposes I must now say that this is a lie. I did not look at a calendar today. I do not, in fact, own a calendar. But, the need for an introduction for my first attempt at revisiting the writing self of my recent past outweighs my moral stance on total honesty in blogging.) As I looked at the calendar and let the date, March 3, 2011, really sink in, I realized that it has nearly been 3 months since I said goodbye to Peter Teacher and embraced a return life as an ex-expat back in the US of A.
Readjusting to life back home has not been an entirely easy process, though I do feel like more of a natural with each passing day. No longer do large groups of white people speaking in English entirely intimidate/irritate me. I have all but kicked my subconscious habit of bowing at the end of every transaction, I have even stopped mentally converting prices to Won. I have drastically reduced the number of Korean pop songs on my average playlist. I have also made a conscious effort to not talk about Korea too often after realizing that the average person really isn't biting at the bit to listen to me as I lengthily describe, in detail, my year as a teacher in South Korea.
While the memories of Korea are still very present in my mind, as time continues to hurtle forward, the whole experience begins to feel like more and more of a very pleasant, kimchi scented dream. And now that the dream of being a foreigner with hair of gold*, frolicking around the Korean peninsula without a financial worry has abruptly come to an end, I have found myself rudely awakened to the real world of post college life, no health insurance, and really expensive phone bills.
I left Colorado in early January, and have spent the past few months traveling the East Coast, in pursuit of a happy, or at least somewhat enjoyable life. I figure, what better way to build somewhat enjoyable life than applying for every job on Craigslist and trying to sink into a natural feeling lifestyle with a schedule, a paycheck, and a social circle that mirrored my experiences in Boston and in Suwon, South Korea. It took a trip back to Boston to realize that, while it holds countless memories and is still home to many people I wish I could see on a daily basis, my time in Boston has come to a close. I kept moving down the East Coast and am currently in Philadelphia, where I have been living with some really great friends for a month now. After spending days on end trying in vain to get any sort of employment, I have found myself in the exact same place I was before I left for Korea. Whenever my phone vibrates there is that moment of excited anticipation before I realize that it is just another email from facebook, could it possibly be a job, finally calling me in for an interview?
So, as I gazed at said fictionalized calendar and let the month of March really sink in, some new realizations began to emerge. If that call did finally come through and I found myself in a mind-numbing 40 hour a week data entry job, even under the guise of a 'just to pay the bills as I search for a job I really want' kind of job, I wouldn't be living a somewhat enjoyable life. I am only 23 years old, why the hell should I settle for a life that is anything less than really damn enjoyable? This is why I, Peter Unemployed, have made a decision. I will be returning to Korea, this time as a kindergarten teacher in Seoul, for another go as Peter Teacher this upcoming May. I have a lot of changes in how I want to approach a second year in Korea, and am really happy that I will once again be in a country where wearing Spiderman socks with sandals is not only accepted, but damn fashionable, in just a few months.
I have had an amazing time catching up with everyone out East these past several weeks and would like to thank you all for your friendship and hospitality. I have much more to say to you all, especially those I didn't get this time around, at a later time. For now, I will leave you with an email I got earlier this week from a former student.
"Hello teacher I am Emily. Are you remember me? My brother is Allen. How are you? I am fine. And my dog lay the puppy. Puppy name is Pube. Goodbye ~~"
"Teecha! You must be very rich. You have gold hair!" from The Dodgy End of Haiti, a Knocked Up Snow White and Chicken from Kentucky, Monday, March 15, 2010