Longish post. Fair warning. But I suppose it's time I post a bit about what's going on in my head and life lately. I've given the main idea it's own heading, but know if you cheat and skip ahead, you're missing some blogging gold. ;)
Before I moved over here, I'd post more about day-to-day, normal what's-going-on-in-my-head stuff. I even tag-lined my old blog something like "the complicated infrastructure known as this female mind" as a call-out from (or tribute to) the Relient K song, Mood Rings.
But then I moved to Korea and I get a heck of a lot more blog traffic because I have an expat's blog now, instead of just a run-of-the-mill blog by some girl who lived in College Station/Conroe/Houston. Now don't get me wrong, I like the extra attention (hello, welcome to my life), but I don't know how some bloggers post SO MANY DETAILS about their personal lives. I don't want to be that person... especially since anyone can google "soju bottle korea" and find my blog. Do I want that soju stalker knowing tons of my personal details? Not so much. All that means I keep things a little closer to the vest on the blogosphere. (And if you think I share a lot on here, just imagine the sparkling conversation going on in my head that *doesn't* get posted. It's rapid fire up in here, I tell ya!) It's much easier to post random English, or funny stories about adventures, or silly things my students do than it is to honestly dig through my thoughts and process them on a public webpage.
On the flip side, I want to be able to honestly document my experience over here, both for friends and family at home and for posterity's sake. AND I guess for the folks who read up on expats' blogs before they move overseas. A couple of my new coworkers have told me that they read my blog before they moved over here... HOLY SMOKES, I'M A CELEBRITY!!!
On with the update...
Several months ago, I started to think about going home. For a few weeks after my parents left, all I could think about was going out for Mexican food with the family, driving through Sonic for a giant Diet Dr. Pepper with 10 cherries, walking through Target for 4 hours, and going to get a pedicure with my mom. Going home was a pretty nice idea in my head until right around the seven month mark. I started to think, "but... oh wow... I only have five and a half months left in Korea! There's so much I want to do still! I didn't get to go to this festival or that! And how beautiful was spring?? Wouldn't it be nice to see that again? I feel like I just figured out HOW to be a good expat; I actually know how to get around and read hangul and ... oh my ... I don't want to go home in five months."
And that kinda was an awesome thought. I always loved traveling, but I always figured that ONE year LIVING abroad would be plenty. I love home so much; how could I possibly want to stay away longer than a year?
And then I moved here. And I lived here. And I made friends here. And slowly, my paradigm began to change. I started to wonder...
How could I want to go back to normal after living like this?
And right about that time, I posted this and kept pondering what was going on in my thought life.
There are so many things about life over here that are just... cooler than at home. More adventurous and crazy. Unusual ... It's like life refuses to be ordinary.
For example, over here, we talk about vacation plans in international terms. "Yeah I have two weeks off at such-and-such. You went to Thailand last summer, right? Should I go there or to India? Oh yeah? Where did you stay when you went to Japan? What was that about Singapore? Yeah, the Chinese visa process is a pain in the ask. Blah blah blah Malaysia." It's neat beyond neat.
Over here, most my close friends aren't even from my own country. And I flippin' love that. Everyone's got really cool accents. I'm getting cultural exchange that isn't at all what I expected! I knew I'd learn about Korea, and I'm so blessed to have some great Korean friends. What I didn't know is that I'd pick up terms from a New Zealander like, "Are you keen for dinner?" "Oh I can shout you for that, just pay me back later." When I thought about moving to Asia, I definitely didn't expect to talk South African history and American politics over a glass (or two) of South African wine (and then go frolic in the snow) in Korea. For real? This is my life?
My job is great, my church is awesome, my friends are beautiful souls. My weekends consistently make me so happy that I suffer a happiness hangover (that has nothing to do with alcohol) on Monday mornings.
Life refuses to be ordinary. Right now, I am LOVING that. Who needs ordinary yet? Or ever?
... THE MAIN IDEA ...
So I guess I can let y'all know that I'm planning to stay in Korea another year. If God wills it, I'd like a job teaching older students next year. I love my kinders, but the first three months were ROUGH and I really miss teaching older students. I'd also like the chance to go home for a vacation in the next several months, and I'd especially like to go home for Christmas NEXT year, neither of which could I do at my current position.
Right now, I'm in the process of applying for university jobs around the country. Because I have an M.Ed and a couple years experience now, it looks like I could really get a uni job. Imagine that! Zara Perciful, University English Instructor. Sounds cool, right?? If you're the praying type, I'd really appreciate prayers on that count. I would love to stay in Gwangju, where I've got a beautiful community established. But, you know as well as I do, God has a plan that is entirely HIS own. He wanted me here this year; He might not want me here next year. He's never, ever, been wrong. The past couple of weeks have been chock-full of God-has-a-plan-so-trust-in-Him references. Coincidences like that don't just happen. I'm talking every. time. I. turned. around, someone would say something along those lines, then at small group what was the topic? And then we found a comedian on youtube who reminded us of... and that blog that I read had a post... and then the guest sermon at church... and then that other person mentioned... and then my daily reading was all like... and on and on and on.
"God knows exactly what He will do. He didn't carry Israel into exile without a plan to carry them back. The Lord's purpose will prevail."
"Walk in the Spirit. Be influenced by Heaven, not by Earth. Take captive every thought to Christ. Work to be rightly ruled by Christ. You are a child of God!"
"As if any of us will get to heaven and have God say, "You got it all right. Every inch of who I am was perfectly understood by you while you were alive. That time in Isaiah 55 when I said, 'My thoughts are not your thoughts,' I meant that verse for everyone but you. You nailed it." --from SCL - (I love sarcasm and the gospel together)
So you see, I have no delusions that my plan is at all what will happen next year. I have no idea what my life will look like in March, once my current contract is over. Maybe I'll be on a plane back to Texas. Maybe I'll be moving somewhere else in Korea. Maybe I'll have the perfect job in Gwangju that I want, that I hope for right now. Wherever I end up, it'll be good, so I'm at peace in that.
And that, dear readers, is what is going on in my life right now.