Ha, no joke that was my first thought as I turned off the street our hotel was on and entered into the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter. I have been to a lot of places, but I had never experienced the congestion and chaos that envelops the area! I didn’t even know how to cross the street without getting hit by the herds of scooters, buses, cars or pedestrians!
When you live on the other side of the world you definitely miss some random things from home! Try to imagine what it would be like to step on a plane in your home country, sit there for at least a fourteen hour flight, and arrive in a land where you understand nothing, can’t read any of the signs, and have no idea how to ask for a thing.
It’s funny, half way through the year it felt like the longest six months of my life and now here we are back in Canada with Korea appearing as a dream like memory. Were we really there? Did all that actually happen? It seemed never ending at the time and now it seems like it didn’t occur at all!
Have you ever felt like you are spreading yourself just a little too thin?? Like maybe you should have said no to at least one of the things you are currently juggling? Welcome to my month, or months I should say!! Not only am I trying to keep this blog up and running so my friends and family can see what is going on in my life, I recently enrolled in a professional photography program back home to fine tune my eye and give me the technical know-how to feel confident in the field! I also found out that I would have my first solo photography exhibition in my home city! I was selected to have four pieces displayed in a central Starbucks location for the month of February and then would be transferred to an even more central location for the month of March!
Fresh off a couple days of R&R at the Nongshim, Graham and I were feeling pretty good! The jet lag had worn off a bit and we were finally able to stay up past 9pm as well as sleep through the night!! The time had come to move on from hotel life and start settling in to our new digs here in Busan. We toured the grounds of the hotel one last time, said good-bye to our wonderful room with a view (I absolutely adored looking out that Asian style window) and set off on a new adventure.
Walking onto the grounds of an ancient temple is an experience like none other. Immediately you are transported to a different world, one where quality and craftsmanship are still well known practices and time itself seems to stand still. No matter what kind of day I am having I can grab my camera, head to a temple and get lost for hours. Exploring the different stone and sand walkways, peaking inside candle lit shrines or watching monks go about their day while I look through my lens and briefly become a part of something bigger.
As soon as I stepped off the airplane the unmistakable smell, sights, and sounds hit me like a ton of bricks. We had arrived that was for sure and all at once I was excited, nervous, and questioning everything. I turned to look at Graham who was smack dab in the middle of sensory overload. I smiled and realized, with the words of Mr. Marley floating through my head, everything’s gonna be alright. All the memories rushing through my brain (the good, the bad, and the ugly) were clouding my initial arrival experience, but just as I had hoped having a newbie by my side was exactly what I needed!
Moving has never been my favourite thing to do; packing, purging, selling off beloved furniture (yes, I still miss our cozy king size pillow top)… it’s all a royal pain in the ass! When moving to another country you can multiply the stress and annoyances by about a billion. Every time the travel itch starts creeping in and I feel the need to flee, I forget exactly what I am getting myself into; especially since I seem to have a magnet drawing me across the world to the tiny peninsula of South Korea.
Honestly, it’s a fairly easy life: the pay is pretty great considering you get an apartment included in your teaching contract as well as the opportunity to take absolutely insane pictures in a foreign land! It surely is a rollercoaster of culture shock, annoyances and awe, but no matter what, I always try to see the humor in things and make the best out of every situation.