*I’ve vowed to be completely honest when documenting my Korean experience. I’m also allowing myself to feel however I feel in this moment. While things are usually on the up and up, I still have those spells when I am in a generally negative headspace. This post is a reflection of that.*
I’ve been in Korea for 4 months now… Yea, I’m over this whole expat in Korea experience. There, I said it! Let’s talk about 10 things I’m currently over, shall we?
1. My neighbor who makes it her duty to scream like she’s starring in a p0rn0 flick for her late night (and sometimes early morning and afternoon) romp sessions with her gentleman caller. The walls are thin, you’re too damn loud, and I want to sleep in peace. The last time this happened, I banged on the wall with a hammer to tell them to quiet down. The next time it happens I’m going to be banging on her damn door. She’s Canadian so I know there won’t be a language barrier when I politely tell her to shut the f*@k up.
2. Being nice to people just because we’re English-speaking expats in a foreign land. Truth is, I’m 99.9% sure we wouldn’t be friends or acquaintances if we were back home. Besides the language thing, we have very little in common. Why I felt the need to fake the funk for so long with others is beyond me. I’m over playing nice. I don’t need noraebang or BBQ buddies that badly.
3. Soju and makgeoli – and pretty much any other binge drinking activity. After my last bout with alcohol, I’m over doing what I’m sure is extensive damage to my liver. I don’t care if it is a social activity, if you require copious amounts of alcohol to have a good time then we have very different definitions of what a good time entails.
4. Acting like I give a damn about visiting temples or historic places. At this point, all the historic places are starting to look and feel the same to me. I now need something new to tickle my fancy. Surely there’s more to this country than temples and old walls. I’m ready to explore the new Korea. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a whole new country.
5. Taking public transportation. While I enjoy not paying for gas, car insurance, or parking in the city, I do miss getting in my SUV and hitting the road whenever I choose. I’m over breathing in other people’s kimchi flavored air on public transportation. Yes, I know I *could* buy a car and hit the road as I so desire, but let’s be real. I don’t want that headache. I doubt I’m staying beyond this year and I don’t see the point.
6. Speaking of kimchi… I’m mostly over that as well. The only kimchi I will consistently eat is grilled kimchi at Korean BBQ. Yum! All that other stuff? You can keep it. Lately I’ve been craving Caribbean foods like fried fish, coco rice, arroz con pollo, plantains, oxtails, and curry goat. I can make all of those dishes, but procuring the ingredients can be somewhat challenging. What I wouldn’t give for a Goya hookup and a variety of fresh, tropical produce right now.
7. My teeny, tiny apartment. I have 1 window that doesn’t let in much light or airflow. I have a peeping Tom or creepy animal (the verdict’s still out) who keeps trying to open my window-screen from the alley at night. And I have mold slowly growing behind the wallpaper and on the headboard of my bed. Spending time in my dark, dank, apartment is now torture.
8. Rainy season. Thanks to copious amounts of rain, the smell of damp and mildew are permeating everything in my apartment, the school, and the country. Ick! I don’t do mildew or mold very well at all. The smell literally makes me sick. My eyes are always burning and I’m constantly fighting to get rid of it. My co-workers and other Koreans say it’s just par for course being in this country where it rains every day for 2 weeks (and counting) straight. How can people live like this?
9. Not fitting in. Generally speaking… I don’t fit in here. I’d like to act like this doesn’t bother me, but it really does. I am obviously not Korean and I’m guessing I’m also not the typical, fresh out of college, never really lived on my own before, expat English teacher either. Their jokes, their cultural references, their penchant for getting utterly shitfaced ALL. THE. TIME… Not for me. Granted, I’ve had my share of FUBAR moments thanks to rounds of soju, but I’m over it (see #3). I’m human and I long to be understood and accepted just the way I am.
10. Being so far away from people who truly matter to me. I’m missing weddings, birthdays, graduations, and babies to follow this crazy adventure of being an expat. I think it wouldn’t bother me so much if everything was A-OK here, but it’s not and so it does.
I realize that most of my issues aren’t actually Korea specific. Many of them have to do with my social circle and feeling like I lack a true community. I think that is the biggest challenge of an expat – or anyone who leaves their established community to set up a new life elsewhere. I also realize that being in an a state of depression (thanks, rainy season) isn’t helping my outlook on life very much either. I’m praying that I can get out of this funk I have been battling for the last month. I’m ready to be happy again.