My Korean Expiry Date
With all of my bags finally loaded onto a cart, I took one last look back at my father's SUV. "Barring something unfortunate happening between now and the end of my contract, this will be my last trip to Korea". I'd been debating what to do for a while and didn't realize that my decision had already been made until I said it out loud.
My reasons for coming to Korea in the first placed were varied and uninteresting, as these things tend to be. I was poor but wanted to travel; I didn't like what I was doing but didn't have any idea what it was I wanted to be doing; I was interested in education but taking a year off work to go back to school wasn't feasible. There are more, of course. There always are with me.
My reasons for coming back to Korea after my first year were a little more specific. I enjoyed teaching more than expected and wanted challenge myself by teaching in a different environment. I wanted another year of teaching experience under my belt so that I could potentially teach elsewhere. I still had a number of friends here. Blah blah, whatever.
When I signed that second contract, I promised myself that if I passed my Korean Expiry Date during the year, it would be my last. But when does one know if they've passed their Korean Expiry Date?
I was in a bathroom stall at some pub when I was in Ontario for my sister's wedding a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, so were a herd of 12 year old girls. Talking. Awful. I got lost somewhere between, "like, oh my God *squeeeeeeee*!" and "eeeeeeeeeee! Me too!" I really wish that I was just being lame and was not actually subjected to that primitive level of discourse. I really do. It was here that I remembered one of the finer points of living in Korea (and having only a basic grasp on the language): how awesome it is to understand little of the meaningless drivel that spills out of other people's mouths. Other people are boring. Sure, I'm boring, too. It's just that my brand stupidity and vapidness is far less offensive than yours. As these thoughts, and worse, tortured my imagination while I attempted to piss rather than bank my head off the side of the stall in agony, I realized something: as absolutely excruciating as that moment was, when I'm in Korea I feel like that at least once nearly every day.
While it would be fun to point out all of the things here that make me feel like I did in that stall, I still have a number of months to clock. There is a contract to be finished and some loose ends to be tied. I haven't quite figured how I'm going to make it all work, but I'm pretty sure that a list of negatives isn't the place to start. Today. No promises as to how I may roll next week.