I could perfectly describe my Korean experiences so far in one word:overwhelming. That’s not to say it’s been bad at all-I’m learning and seeing new things every day and that is, after all, what I came here for. But sometimes when the things that were so simple and easy back home-like getting a cell phone,swiping a bus card, or even getting home- takes so much extra time and effort, it’s easy to be exhausted. I also think I’m realizing that I’m going to be here for at least a year, which means I don’t have to rush anything.
When I was in Spain, I accepted every invitation and took every weekend trip I could because I knew I only had six short months-just a handful of school breaks- to see Europe. While a year can go by just as quickly, I’ve decided that I can ease into this transition. It’s okay that I didn’t KTX train to Seoul within the first month or that I couldn’t order a meal in Korean if I was starving. Being so new and having no idea what is going on or what I’m doing is an icky feeling, but it’s part of being a true expat. So, I embrace it.
I’ve come up with some personal goals to help me ease into this new experience. Maybe they can help others in the same situation.
5. Learn the Language
I’m starting my second week of Hangul classes. Fluency is too much to ask for; I’m just hoping to no longer be illiterate in Korean by the end of it.
4. Stop focusing on “I”
I feel like I have too much time to think ponder the meaning of life, how I should know it by now, and every embarrassing moment since 4th grade. So, I want to find activities- like volunteering,yoga,freelance- to fill the void.
3. Build “Girl and Her Pink Backpack”
This is an amazing opportunity to travel so I want to see as much as possible and record even more for others to experience also.That brings me to the next goal…
On the weekends and during vacations , I want to see Korea and Asia.
1. Be comfortable with the process
I’m not going to learn the language overnight, be the perfect teacher by tomorrow night, or be up for every outing every time. That’s okay. I’m here-I’m going to take advantage of it. That’s all that matters in the end, right?
Do you have any tips for settling into a new place?