On Returning Home…

It’s been ages since my last post, which has been becoming more of an occurrence.  I guess no news is good news.

A handful of updates:
*I’ve begun studying for the GRE exam, which I plan to take in January
*I’m leaving Korea and US-bound in March–after FOUR years (contract ends at the end of February)
*Classroom stuff is going swimmingly and I’ve been able to try my hand at video editing, which is pretty fun.

GRE Exam
In case you weren’t aware, the GRE is a graduate school entrance exam.  It’s not required by all schools, but as I want to keep my options open and I have some free time, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have it under my belt.  I bought a big (and I mean BIG) book with lots of practice questions and it’s really helpful.  I’m feeling dumber than a bucket of rocks as a lot of it has leaked out of my head, but I have a nice frosty winter to re-learn a thing or two.  ha

USA-Bound
It’s true, it’s happening.  I’ve mentioned it on and off for awhile now, but it’s really happening.  I’ve been reading a lot about reverse culture shock and repatriating online as I’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions.  At first it was relief and excitement, and everything around me seemed to be brighter, warmer, crisper and more cheerful.  Now, I’m feeling so…lost and I guess anxious would be the right word.  I keep going back and forth (with feelings, not on the decision itself) about whether I’m making the right decision, or whether I should just keep traveling for a bit.
Leaving feels right and it frees up a lot more possibilities, but the money is so addicting.  The other part that really gets me is that I’ll have a good amount saved up by the time that February gets here, more than I’ve ever had in my bank account at one time.  Ever.  Then I go home and buy a car and it’s all but gone.  Not even an expensive car…just a general used car.  It’s so depressing.  I was thinking about how far that money would go if I were to keep traveling after Korea, and I could go for about 8 months.  Maybe longer if I stayed in SE Asia.  It hurts me knowing that cars are essential in the midwestern parts of the US.  :-/

I feel like I’m on an emotional roller-coaster.

With the reading that I’ve done though, it’s really reassuring that I’m not alone in this.  I’ve also talked with friends who have already returned and they’ve given me advice as well, mainly: have a plan and keep busy.

I’m half-tempted to make a pit-stop in England before returning to the States because (1) I love it there (2) I have friends from Korea there who I haven’t seen in about 2-3 years.  (3) The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
I do have a free return flight from Korea, which would get me there…I would just need to pay the return from London to Chicago.  Which takes away from the car fund.

I also really wanted to fill up my passport pages before it expires (in 2019, I believe).  I know going home isn’t permanent, but it feels like it.  I think that’s where part of my anxiety is coming from.

Anyway, this blog in particular was really helpful in fighting back the current anxiety that I’m feeling, especially in the comments.
*Have a plan B
*Make time to travel in your own country–which I’m actually working on as well!  I want to drive the PCH next summer.  It’s been on my bucket list for a very long time, and it would be great to see the west coast during the summer.  PLUS, I could stop in Cali and visit a friend from Korea who lives over there 😀

This is from the above-mentioned blog:
it seems that in life doors are always opening to us that we didn’t even see when we were all the way down at the other end of the corridor, so be brave, take one step at a time, and remember that even in going back, you can still be moving forward!”
(Steph 5/24/2013)

Anyway, that’s enough for now as it’s late (as usual).

I just found this and it.is.perfection.
boundaries

Anyway, goodnight! 😀

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Done and done.

So, I went to immigration today and got myself sorted for the next year in Korea.  I’m thinking this will be my last year teaching in Korea.  I love teaching, but I’d like to further my education and I hope to teach in a more stable setting.

The after-school academies (or hagwons) tend to be a bit more unstable as they can be opened up with anyone with enough money (really) and they’re everywhere.  I really enjoy my classes and the school that I’m at so I’m hoping for another year like this one.  This past year seemed to breeze by pretty quickly.  There’s a bit of negativity though, and that can be a bit rough, but trying to keep my head down and do my own best with my classes and sort of just do what I’m doing.

I already have quite a few things in store for the coming year, so hopefully things go smoothly.

Here’s a teaser for the year to come–obviously things change and put this is what I’m looking at as of now:
*Hoping I get the OK to carve pumpkins with my kiddos at school.  Our classes are smaller and I’d LOVE to give them this experience.  Halloween isn’t really that big here yet (slowly…) so I’d like to let them experience making a jack-o-lantern.
I’m thinking that letting them draw and scoop out the mess would be best and I’ll do the cutting.
(Plus decorating my room a bit for Halloween!  Yay!  I love having my own classroom!)

* Christmas at home (first time in almost 3 years!! Squeeeee!)

*New Years in LA (first time!)

*back with ultimate frisbee in the spring 🙂  (Too many things going on in the fall right now to dedicate the time and money to it)

*Toying with the idea of Budapest in February (Yes, winter)

*Working on another surprise of sorts for my summer vacation— I sent my mom and brother on an all-expenses paid cruise two years ago (to the Bahamas, I believe).  Expensive, yes, but it makes me happy and I think that’s what life is about.  This won’t be quite that extravagant, but it still puts an extra spring in my step and makes my heart feel lighter when I think about it. My mom is a single mom and she works her butt off (and has) for years and years and never gets a vacation, so I had wanted to change that.

*Finish contract in September

*Thailand for a bit of muay thai fighting training

Anyway, this would be the dream scenario, but I like making my dreams happen.  So, we shall see 😀