Sunday, May 5, 2013

An Update on Life: Two Months After Seoul

I left Korea on February 28, 2013 and have been back in the US for just over two months now.  During that time, I spent about a month applying for jobs and interviewing.  I had an interview with New York City Teaching Fellows, but didn't get in.  I interviewed with a few other places and by early April, I had two job offers. I accepted a position as a Community Education Coordinator for a larger-sized non-profit near New York City which is where I am now.  So far, so good. I enjoy my colleagues, my students and my new life as a young professional here in the US.  As many people keep reminding me, I am quite fortunate to have found work so quickly.

After almost four years, I finally own a car again!  That was something I didn't expect to happen quite so fast, but since I needed one for the job, we quickly scrambled together and bought one around mid-April.  Also, as of last Tuesday, I became an auntie (again) when my sister and her husband had their first child.  It's been a great week being together with family and celebrating new life.  

I still think about Seoul and I do have moments where I think back on wonderful memories of life in Germany and Korea but right now, I am happy to be where I am.  Right around the time I left Korea, I was cleaning out my desk at work and found this journal entry which I had written one year earlier from the time I left Germany.  It read: 

February 22, 2012
New starts are so difficult, especially when everything feels foreign and unknown.  Like Korea. 

Reading that statement at the end of my time in Korea really felt like coming full circle.  It’s amazing to see how with time, everything works itself out, even in the most unknown and uncertain phases of our lives.  Once Korea was unknown, now it is a treasured memory and life experience.

It's been fun sharing my adventures throughout the last couple of years, but since being back I haven't kept up my blog so this may very well be my last blog entry here.  Thanks for sharing the journey with me.  I wish you all wonderful adventures of your own. 

x diana

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lil' Kim At His Finest

The web is full of memes mocking the current leader of North Korea's apparent love for food.

A younger Kim Jong Un with his father, the late Kim Jong Il.
Seriously. This.
With all the threats of war and fear-inducing news coming off the Korean Peninsula, I thought a little lightheartedness was due. Obviously war is never a laughing matter, but as the saying goes, sometimes you've got to laugh or you'll cry.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Back in the hood...

It feels so good to be home!

Of course, being home feels a bit like being on vacation at the moment as mom is feeding us well and we're enjoying the ease of life in the US while not having too many responsibilities. Oh the joys of being able to understand and communicate easily with everyone around us again.  ;).

I've been contemplating whether to keep up this blog anymore now that I'm no longer that "american girl in germany who moved to korea". I  don't know who actually reads this thing, but even if it is only my mom (hi mommy!) it has been fun keeping it up throughout my time abroad.

I've been back for a total of 3.5 days now.  Jet lag hasn't been as bad as I expected.  Sunday I had an interview for the New York City Teaching Fellows in the city and it went pretty well.  I'll have to wait about a month to hear if I get into the program.  Otherwise, enjoying the sunshine and the freedom I have in between jobs.

--until next time.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boarding a One Way Flight

I can't believe I left Germany a year ago.  
I can't believe I have lived in Korea for a year.
I can't believe I'm going back to the United Stated tomorrow. 
Holy. Cow.
Thanks for an absolutely amazing journey, Korea. 
Until we meet again!
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Be A Female Traveler

Two travelers in two different countries who met one singular horrific fate.
Sarai Sierra.  Elisa Lam. 

These two women's names have been on my mind for the last few weeks.  

Their sad stories have touched too close to home for me.  Solo travelers, who happen to be women, go to a distant land and never return home.  One found dead, bludgeoned to death along a stone wall in Istanbul, the other found in a water tank on the roof of an LA hotel two weeks after going missing.

People blame them for being 'so dumb' as to travel on their own.  "Women should never travel alone."  "Why would their husband/friends/family allow them to go?"  "What were they doing at x,y,z?"  People ask these questions over and over again, but they are unfair questions to ask.  They are unfair because they put blame on the victims.  No matter who Sarai or Elisa were and no matter what their reasons for traveling, they didn't deserve to die.  Being a woman isn't a good enough reason to be killed.

Both cases are swarmed in controversy, and because of all these unanswered questions people want to believe that what happened to these women was in someway their own faults.  It's too scary to think that tourists can just find themselves killed from one day to the next for no reason.  I'll admit I too was hoping for some kind of explanation, no matter how small.

Telling women to "always travel in pairs" and "never go to shady areas" is only a temporary solution.  Violence against women is a serious issue and one that needs to be addressed urgently everywhere on the globe.  I pray that these women and their families can find peace in their hearts.  It's a horrific, horrific thing to happen and I can't imagine the pain they must be dealing with.  

Please be safe wherever you are, at home or abroad.  

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Packing On Up

In less than four years, I'll have moved four times, three of which were international moves. 

June 2009 -        USA to Germany (Lauf)

October 2010 -  Lauf to Nuernberg

February 2012 - Germany to South Korea (Seoul)

Feburary 2013 - South Korea to USA

Luckily, I haven't accumulated too much stuff and I've never had to ship boxes or furniture.  I could always bring everything I need with me on the plane within one or two suitcases. 

Yesterday night, as David and I were doing a testrun packing, to see if we could fit everything in our bags, I was on autopilot sorting, saving and throwing things away.  Moving is a great way to purge and keep clutter from accumulating.  It's also a great deterrent from spending money on unnecessary things.   I didn't buy much this year knowing another overseas move was on the horizon.  I'm not saying I want to be a suitcase vagabond forever, but the last few years I've learned to live simply with my suitcase or two full of things. 

I am looking forward to settling down for a bit though.  I'll be happy to be in a place that I can start to invest in and to have a home that feels homey and not just temporary.  I'll be living with my parents for a few months until DH & I can get jobs sorted, but after that, hopefully we can take a break with the boxes and masking tape.

D- 7 days until departure.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

"We have an idea of happiness.  We believe that only certain conditions will make us happy.  But it is often our very idea of happiness that prevents us from being happy." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

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There are many emotions that human beings experience:  happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiousness, fear, anger, pride, jealousy, laziness, sympathy--the list goes on.  Buddhism teaches there are 108 emotions.  I don't know what they are, but that number is a lot higher than the list I wrote above.

Lately, when I am sitting in my cold apartment, I find myself feeling excited about going back to the US.  Then when I'm at school and see the kids that I spent the past year with, I feel sad, even guilty that I am leaving after only one year.  I'm having bi-polar days and truth be told, it is a bit exhausting.

Tomorrow is graduation day and the official end to the semester and school year for students and teachers. Time to say goodbye and get ready to move on to the next place and time.

학생들이, 안녕히가세요!

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