It has nearly been four years since I moved to Korea. In March of 2007 I decided that I’d fly to Korea where I’d live and work as an English teacher. In my first year, I worked at a language academy. That initial experience afforded me the opportunity to become acclimated to the lifestyle and customs of Koreans although I’d become pretty comfortable with their culture simply through living in Los Angeles. Truly my first year was a test of endurance. Can you live abroad for one year? To answer that question: “no.” That’s because in my first year I returned to Los Angeles twice — once for my sister’s wedding, and again to use a one way ticket that I’d otherwise lose if I didn’t use it. Each trip was a welcomed change for me. However, after I returned the second time, I would spend my first real-full year abroad. I returned on December 31st, 2008 and only went back to America around the third week of January in 2009. I had spent the entire year of my second term in Korea. Since returning to Korea in January of 2009, I have remained here for what when I return to America in December will be almost two years! I returned to Korea in February 2009, and will go back to America in December of 2010. It will be 23 months total that I’ve spent in Korea! That’s quite an accomplishment. The milestones of my journey include working for one of the top 5 Korean high schools; working for Sun Moon University which is funded by the cult that is commonly referred to as “Moonies”; and most recently teaching at the prestigious Yeungnam University. Along the way I’ve met my best friend and life partner, Anne, whose support has made my time abroad easier and more enjoyable. Although I had initially said that I would live and teach in Korea for four years — which was enough time I thought to get myself out of credit card debt — I am now considering continuing for at least another five years. During that time I’d continue to work my way out of debt, travel, and earn higher wages while working at universities throughout Korea.
I wrote this on Halloween day 2010 while sitting in Starbucks waiting for the 4:40pm showing of the remake of the 80’s drama Wall Street.