The “new chapter” in my life officially begins in 39 days or so: If things go as planned, on August 16, I should be touching down at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. Fourteen hours and 6,600+ miles away, I will begin my new job as a “native-speaking English teacher” in a public school in Seoul. That’s as much as I know about that. I won’t know where in Seoul I’ll be working or where I’ll be living until I arrive and go through orientation.
At this point, the fact that I will be in South Korea, half a world away from home, for at least one year is all I need to know. It’s quite a departure from my current situation as a graphic designer for a company that manufactures and sells disposable foodservice products. I can only look at sales literature for foam and plastic for so long.
I was ready to leave this job about seven months ago, but I had no idea I would head to the other side of the earth. I spent the first five months of 2008 looking for a different kind of job. I wanted to use my graphic design skills in the field I studied in college: journalism. I wanted to create pages and graphics for newspapers. My search took me to Bozeman, Montana, to Visalia, California, to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. None of those prospects worked out as I had hoped, which made me reconsider my options.
Life has too many paths for me to paint myself into a corner. I had missed out — by my own fault — on the study abroad experience in college, and I knew I wanted to see the world at some point in my life. That point became now.
I’m excited. I’ve always welcomed the idea of change but not always its practice. As much as I love the familiar, there has always been a part of me that has wanted to drop everything and start a new life in a new place. I’ve made a smaller jump before when I moved to Michigan by myself for college — after having visited only once. At least I could understand the language when I got off the plane.
Like searching far and wide for college, this wasn’t a difficult choice. It was finally making that first step toward a new place that was the hard part. Now the ball is rolling, and I’ll let the winds carry me as they may.
See you in Korea.