For a good nine/ten month period I’ve been delaying and delaying my date with the reality police on the decision to stay or go. They’ve recently come a’ knocking.
So I tried to make a snap decision, flipping a coin, taking Kobe-style free throws at my laundry basket with socks, rolling duct-tape across the floor to see if it turned to the left or right…I started to get odd looks and so I desisted. The dilemma still lies heavy though.
The facts are: I’m having a great time in Korea, no doubt about that. Where else can I get around a city using clean, cheap, punctual public transport AND be living but two hundred yards away from the closest station? In the same token; I’ve never been healthier. The country lends itself to keeping active, I don’t drive a car everywhere and I find my love of running is easily accommodated by the landscape and regular meets.
So, what is stopping me from resigning the contract? Good, old-fashioned fear.
I feel that when I left the UK I left behind a person who wasn’t able to deal with half the things I’ve encountered since being here; a much more negative, unaccepting, less relaxed individual who I identify with less and less as the weeks and months tick by. On top of this, I feel like the job of teaching kids has made me face a few more of my demons about how I felt when I was at school and the catharsis of being able to try to nurture talent for language is really very helpful to me.
Of course, there is the sensible tribe to appease. Is the job pushing me? Am I learning anything new?
Teaching here is hard work, I’ll speak for most of my colleagues when I say that the working conditions can sometimes put people off the idea of staying. You are the sole native teacher in the school (though not the case in Hagwons) and your whole existence outside of the classroom is spent trying to keep an otherwise sedentary mind active; seeing as during the average working day we are speaking very slowly, deliberately and with limited vocabulary in order to make ourselves understood. It can drive one a little mad after a while.
A good friend has just wrestled with the big choice himself and told me that he feels “he can be the person he wants to be in Korea.” This is a very interesting idea and one that I share, especially when I realise that I’ve made so many strong connections with people out here and I’m not ready to let that go just yet.
Putting it in print is harder than saying it aloud but here goes: I’m not going anywhere.
Now, who’s round is it?