Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Moving (on)

I was watching this EatYourSushi video and it got my thinking about the same question, "What's it like starting over in a new country?"


There is no easy answer to this, it's been both easy and hard. Yes, I was alone coming here but the minute I landed, I met other people who were on the same boat. At the EPIK orientation I made my first friends, and even though I don't tend to make friends easily, it was a comfort just to know that we were all clueless in a new country. 

As soon as I went to Pohang, my first city, I was lucky enough to have great neighbors who were new and old to Korea, so I had a good support system right away. 

Yes, of course I've had my breakdowns. I've cried myself to sleep missing my family and wanting to drop everything and go back. 

Just this past few weeks I went through a rough patch. I was super stressed out, and my first thought was "I just want to go home," but talking to my friends not only calmed me down, but it has definitely let me know how much my friends care for me.

Another easy part is that us expats are not really starting from zero. When we get a job here, most of the employers offer accommodations or offer extra money for rent. With EPIK, you get furniture and some pocket money right away to buy essentials. Also, with EPIK, each person gets an assigned "handler" or co-teacher who helps you out to get settled in. My handler was extremely helpful; she took me grocery shopping, she took me to the bank to open an account, she took to the cellphone store, and she pretty much was just there for me.

Something that is definitely a problem is not knowing the language, but living in Seoul is pretty easy compared to living in Pohang where almost no one speaks English. I can get by with basic words and expressions. Though I do know people who have been living in Seoul for years, and they don't even know how to read Hangul.

So my experience coming to Korea doesn't even compare to my parents' experience of moving from Mexico to the US or to most immigrants'. Most people have nothing when they move and start a new life somewhere else.

That's today's reflection haha. Now for the fun stuff! Today is my 5 year anniversary in Korea! I knooooooow, it doesn't even feel like 5 years, crazy! So to commemorate my anniversary with Korea, here are some things that I did over the summer from my Korea Bucket List:

Dokdo and Ulleungdo!


Muiido ...I actually got to go there twice this summer, yay!

                            

Look at that sunset!


Boseong Tea Fields
Definitely a favorite from now on.

Find the floating heads hehe

                                   














It was also nice to go back to Gyeongju ^^


























And lastly, thanks to Korea, I am debt free!! On September 9th, I made my last student loan payment, yupiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Man, that was a struggle, especially these last few months because I really really wanted to pay them off before turning 30. I can make it rain now!!!

Do I regret taking out loans? Nope! Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to study abroad nor take some time off work when I was doing my MA. So, thank you Korea!

Hope you had a great summer! 

Peace!