A.K.A. Adjustments, and the abundance thereof.
If I were to sum up everything that’s been going on thus far in my Korean experience, in 1 word, I’m pretty sure this is the one I would use: adjustments. Between getting flat-out sick during orientation, recovering slowly and watching Netflix as I do so, finding my new apartment which has blessed me so much that the non-twin sheets I brought for my bed don’t fit, hauling groceries for not that many blocks but still wishing for my beater car, discovering a percentage of my tiny school’s kids that don’t have parents right after I was showing mine off, using a squat toilet for the first time, being amused by the energy level of the students that thunder outside my office door between classes though knowing I probably won’t be so amused when I’m trying to quell that energy, and a plethora of other things.
Severe change has been colouring this time for me, between settling into walking the glorious 3 minutes it takes me to walk to my main school and trying to decipher whether that ramen bowl is spicy enough to make me regret buying it.
It’s getting better, though. I’ve learned the alphabet (Hangeul) and I’ve learned the number systems (more or less) and now I just have to keep practicing – which shouldn’t be too difficult now that I’m past doggy paddling through life in Korea. I’ve gone grocery shopping by myself and picked up the odd thing here or there. I’m starting to learn the everyday things that it takes living here to know and pick up on, yet there’s others I’m sure I’m completely unaware of still!
I’ve also found an English church service that I’m going to check out this Sunday, and I expect good things to come of that: new connections and friends, someone to hopefully explain the bus system to me, and who knows what other good and favour-filled things God has in store for me!
Last night, I went around my apartment and just started thanking God for all the things He’s provided for me (because it’s too easy sometimes to see what’s not there): the huge bed, the huge apartment (by the average standard that an English teacher could hope to get in Korea), the new kitchen, the heated floors, all the nice windows, having my own space in general, a whole other room that I don’t even know what to do with…my list went on. I particularly realized how wonderful these things were after reading other accounts of teaching in Korea and reading about the possibilities.
I wrote a post a while before I left Canada, divulging some of my fears about leaving my city and how I was also reminding myself that my heavenly Dad was laying out the red carpet for me – because that’s what He likes to do for His kids. Those fears were founded, as I’m finding out now, but the main thing is this: my confidence – based from who I am in Christ – is infinitely more founded and grounded. It won’t wither away like my fear. It’ll just grow.
He has indeed laid out the red carpet for me…or maybe it’s purple? 😉
Anyhow, He’s laid it out and I am walking on it. It’s a little bumpy since it’s laid on top of some imperfect ground, but other places it’s so smooth underneath that it’s imperfections have been ground away. That’s my life, folks. Smooth and rough and somewhere in between, but it doesn’t matter because it’s covered in something beautiful, leading to something awesome.
The other day my Mom shared a song with me and I must say: my family and friends have been imperative in getting me through these adjustments, reminding me of God’s promises and constantly encouraging me. That day, my Mom knew I needed some of that but it was especially meaningful for me that day. Here’s the opening line:
“No one ever told me this would be easy, but I never knew that it could be this hard,” Brave – Moriah Peters
I’d listened to this song dozens of times before but this time, I really knew it. I had just been gotten over sickness and was reluctant to leave my apartment. OK, and Netflix. I was really craving home for a while there: a place where I had access to a cozy couch, a cozy, familiar blanket, a cozy puppy, and cozy conversation. I was/am away from everything I knew/know…but I was reminded that I didn’t come here for those things.
I came to Korea because this was where God led me, where my heart desired to go and adventure, where I wanted to teach kids about a language that can be so much, and love them. This is where I came to be stretched and adjusted and grown. Check.
I came because I was Brave, because I am Brave, and because I’m going to be Brave. Not because I myself am, but because I’ve got Jesus. Yes, that is a Sunday school answer. No, I’m not changing it. It’s the answer! You can’t change what the answer is. It just is.
I will be Brave as I’m learning to enjoy spicy things, learning to communicate with this wonderful Korean people, learning to love what is behind the differences. Notice, if you will, the present tense of that verb: “learning.” It’s still happening. I don’t think it’ll stop anytime soon. At least I know that at the end of this roller coaster, I’ll get more than a photo of me screaming.
One last snippet of awesome lyrics:
“…no more running, no more hiding
Strike the fire so I’ll be fearless too
And make me
“Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.”
This one is for my Mom & Dad, who teach me and walk with me and continue to demonstrate what it means to be brave. Especially now.