It has been a little more than two months since we (new EPIK teachers) arrived in Daegu. So far, our time here has been absolutely amazing. I never could have imagined that I would be having so much fun with so many interesting people in such a short time. But now that the “honeymoon phase” is wearing off, I’m starting to feel settled in.
That settled feeling has brought with it a feeling that I find difficult to explain. I’m not depressed, but I am in a bit of a rut. Maybe it’s the inevitable low that comes after any fast-paced and exciting high like we’ve experienced for the past two months. We’ve been working so hard to squeeze every ounce of fun out of our time here that we haven’t had a second to stop and think. Add to it the fact that we are learning a new city, a new culture, and a new language and you have a whirlwind of excitement.
Or maybe it’s the fact that there is something inherently lonely about living (alone) abroad. There are lots of westerners here and I see them often, so lonely might not be the most appropriate word. Maybe during the week, when we’re alone among in a foreign place, it is easy to feel isolated. This is especially true in Korea, where people seem absolutely unable (or unwilling) to communicate through the language barrier. Other forms of communication, like physical gestures, are totally lost on most of the Koreans with whom I have tried to communicate. Few are able to understand even the most rudimentary physical communication.
The good news is that this feels like a phase. I doubt that it will last much longer. We simply need to strike a balance between the excitement of weekends and the lul of daily life. As we become more comfortable functioning in Korea, I think we will learn to navigate culture and communicate effectively.
Until next time.