I Dream of Korea

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In a former life, I was a 26-year-old late bloomer who never lived away from home, save the two years I was in the college dorm bubble at Alfred University. I slept in the same room since I was 10, writing for a weekly newspaper, coasting.

And then, I was living in South Korea.

It was almost four years ago. Two years out of college and still the idea of teaching English in South Korea was firmly in my head. It had began with a post on the college’s job forum I read one day during Magazine Writing, which involved little to no writing because our professor did little to no actual teaching.

“See the world! Learn a new culture! Get paid!”

Or something like that. I had always envied those who got the opportunity to travel cross-country or across Europe, while I always felt that was out of reach because I was thousands of dollars in debt from credit card bills, and over $10,000 in debt from student loans. All that travel would have to wait.

In a former life, I was a 26-year-old late bloomer who never lived away from home, save the two years I was in the college dorm bubble at Alfred University. I slept in the same room since I was 10, writing for a weekly newspaper, coasting.

And then, I was living in South Korea.

It was almost four years ago. Two years out of college and still the idea of teaching English in South Korea was firmly in my head. It had began with a post on the college’s job forum I read one day during Magazine Writing, which involved little to no writing because our professor did little to no actual teaching.

“See the world! Learn a new culture! Get paid!”

Or something like that. I had always envied those who got the opportunity to travel cross-country or across Europe, while I always felt that was out of reach because I was thousands of dollars in debt from credit card bills, and over $10,000 in debt from student loans. All that travel would have to wait.

But, here was an opportunity to teach in a foreign country, to absorb their culture and get paid while doing it. I could pay off thousands, see a new land and even write a book about my exploits. Who wouldn’t want to get involved in that?

Apparently, I didn’t once I was involved in it. It took only 40 days, a few near-sleepness nights, about $300 in toll call charges, a lot of cigarettes and one last-minute search for a replacement teacher, but I was home by Christmas Eve 2005. You can read more about it here.

Four years on, I still think about South Korea and the opportunity that was, never was, could be again? It really feels like a lifetime ago. I hear the cells we have now are not the same cells we will have tomorrow, and in seven years no cell in our body will be the same as seven years before. Which would mean I still have some cells in my body from when I was a pretty green traveler trying to get over to South Korea, only to try and get as far from it as possible 40 days later. Maybe it’s those cells that remind me of that lifetime ago every once in a while.

Or maybe it was the e-mail I received today from an online travel guide accepting me into their 12-week internship. 2005 really was a lifetime ago, wasn’t it?



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