Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Korea Post

I wrote this entry four days ago and didn't post it. It's lengthy and rambling, so grab a snack, get comfortable, and remember you can't blame me when you get halfway through and realize it's not getting any better because I've already warned you now.

I mentioned it in passing in an earlier blog entry, but I applied to teach ESL in South Korea. I've been working with a recruiter towards getting placed, I had an interview with someone from a school on Saturday, and I was offered and accepted a job yesterday. So let's talk about this.

Why this? I guess a lot of reasons. Doing a program like this is something I've thought of doing since I was in high school, and it's actually the reason I got my first passport way back when I was 18 or 19--in anticipation of this sort of thing. Of course, I wasn't qualified at that time but, now that I've graduated (again), I've realized I'm still hungry for adventure and ready to live out that old dream. There probably won't be another time in my life where I can just drop whatever I'm doing and take off for a foreign country. My sister taught ESL in both Chile and Spain, and enjoyed both experiences, but I've always been more into Asian culture (if you've seen my manga/manhwa collection and anime figure collection, you'll have realized this), which I why I started looking into both Japan and Korea.

Why Korea? Aside from my love of the culture mentioned above, there are other logistical reasons, too, most of which you can probably find by googling. A few of those reasons include money and how well you're taken care of in Korea versus other locations. One of my best friends from college has been in Korea now for a year and a half teaching ESL, I've got a few more Internet friends over there doing the same, and all of them seem content with the decision. While I am seeking adventure, my Type A personality still demands a certain amount of comfort and control, and it seems Korea will better cater to my ideal of a "controlled" adventure. (Note: I'm not dissing teaching ESL in other countries in this section. Heavens knows I have absolutely no experience to judge such things. I'm merely saying Korea sounds like a better fit for my personality.)

Why teaching? Well, aside from it being the job that's offered, I actually enjoy doing that sort of thing. Regardless of how much I want the adventure, I don't think I could've even applied if I didn't like what I'd potentially be doing there. First and foremost, it's a job.

[I wrote a whole paragraph here about working at my university's writing center and previous work I've done with ESL students, but it just sounded a bit too job interview-y and y'all don't deserve that. Blah blah blah I enjoy teaching. Let's move on.]

Why haven't I talked about this yet? Well, I don't like to count my chickens before they hatch. I don't even like to count them once they have hatched. (I'm not a fan of math, obviously.) Even though I've accepted the job and have an estimated date to leave, in my mind there are still so many things that could go wrong--most of them unfounded and conjured up by my worrying personality.

Even though I've already passed the required health exam and gotten a few more vaccinations than necessary, I just know I'm gonna come down with some outrageous illness in the next month that will prevent me from going. I'm also worried about not getting my FBI background check back in time. And, even though I'm the most boring, straight-edge kid in the world and have received clear background checks in the past for other jobs, heaven knows the FBI will pin me for some little nugget and I'll be hauled off to Azkaban ASAP (because I'm a wizard). I've always wondered how much they look into you during those checks. Can they see all my late night Google image searches for Zac Efron? Do they know about my secret love for Jennifer Love Hewitt's music? Are they aware of all the weird porn I've looked at with my friends late at night on Skype? None of those things are true, by the way, in case you're reading this, FBI. Heh heh...erm.

I guess I'm mostly worried about how I'll look if something goes awry. I'll have told everyone about this great thing I'm super excited about only to be like, "Oh, something happened. I'm not going after all," and then I'll have to type another lengthy explanation and get all embarrassed about whatever reason prevented me from going. Essentially, I'm afraid of people seeing me fail. (You'd think I'd be over that by now, because my YouTube channel is basically one big failure).

In reality, things are going well. I've got many of my documents and am pretty sure the rest will arrive on time. (Even if they don't, I've been told I can extend my departure.) I feel I'm mentally prepared and well-informed about the situation (or as well as one can be before leaving to live in a foreign country). Lord, I just reread what I've written so far and this whole blog entry sounds like a desperate pep talk for myself. Ah well, continuing.

Where will I be? I will be in Jeollanam-do (the South Jeolla Province) but I don't know which county/city yet. I have some ideas, but once I'm more clear about that and my departure date, I'll write another Korea-geared entry.

When I started blogging again, I said I wanted to document all the things that would be coming my way after graduation (which sounds lame and cliche but, hey, it's a personal blog) so, regardless of my reservations, I'm gonna try to push myself to write about this more. Also, I'd like to mention I don't want this to turn into some sort of "How To Teach ESL In Korea" informative blog. There's absolutely nothing wrong with those sorts of blogs--in fact, I've been reading plenty of them and they're helping me immensely--but, like I said, this is more about my personal journey. (Although if you have any questions about the process, I can try my best to reply in the comments. Remember: I'm at the beginning of this journey, so you may be better off reading an actual Korea-geared blog.)

I've got one more question to answer that a few people have asked who have figured this whole thing out already: Will I still make videos? Yes! The thought of making videos in a foreign country sounds like a lot of fun to me. I'm sure there will be a couple weeks at the beginning of the move where I don't have Internet set up, but if I could manage three videos a week while being a full-time student and having a part-time job as well, I think I'll be able to whip out vids with something like this going on. (There are actually some pretty cool ESL teacher vloggers that you should check out. I'll try to remember to post about some of them in the future.) Anyway, at this point, I don't think I could escape the cold, lifeless grip of Internet video even if I tried. You are, unfortunately, stuck with me (unless you unsubscribe, which I wouldn't blame you for).

(Okay, I reread this again and I still sound desperate. Time to play it off with a cool farewell to maintain my freshness with the youths.) Anywizzle, keep on keepin' it real my lil' tuna Gangnam styles. Peace out and continue jammin' to the smooth hits of the day. (Good job, Joe. You still got it.)