The thing about abandoning everything and living in a foreign country where all aspects of it — language, culture, custom, are unfamiliar, is shocking easy. Back in 2010, I was a newly grad fresh out of college who didn’t want her fun to end, and my decision to work in Korea was a no- brainer. With my airfares and apartment paid for, I figured that the year abroad would be a party.
It was, in a way, but it was definitely not what I had expected.
“Hello, I am Sherry Teacher”
I had envisioned myself teaching at an all boys high school in the heart of Seoul, sort of a teacher by day, glam girl by night kind of deal. In reality, I taught ALL-GIRLS high school and lived in SSangmun, a suburb that has more traditional rice cake (떡) shops than bars. Another aspect that I had failed to taken into consideration was: “Koreans speak Korean, not English.” Now this may seem obvious, but I had honestly believed that because Seoul is an international metropolis, I could survive with just “안녕하세요” (“Hello”).
I lived and worked in Seoul, Korea, from 2010 to 2011. Just to clarify, I am not, nor do I speak, Korean. Furthermore, I had no particular interest in Korean dramas or pop stars. Hence, you might ask, “Why did you go to Korea?”
Frankly, I do not not know myself. But I can most certainly retort with a “Why not?”. In Alastair Reid’s poem, “Curiosity,” there are two types of people — dogs and cats. A dog person opts for stability (e.g. family, work) while a cat person seeks the unknown. Contrary to popular proverb that “curiosity kills the cat,” the poem contends that it is the lack of curiosity that kills us. For only the curious, “have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all.”
WHAT TO EAT in Korea, click HERE to read more
I survived Korea splendidly. But that was luck and, I would say 87%, attributed to meeting a lot of great people. For those who don’t like to leave having a good time to chance, there are a thing or two you should know about the city.