If you were on my email chain last year you’ve possibly wondered if I died, or maybe took a technophobic vow of isolation given the minimal amount of updating I’ve done. My bad! I probably won’t be much better in the future
To flash over the basics—I’m still in Korea, but in a different city teaching English to cool kids at an after school academy. I live in a community building with the other teachers, a few Korean families, and Koko. I like it here. Here in Korea, here in Namyangju, here in Peace Building, and here in my life. I’m not a total noob at most of the things I need to do, but I’m still excited by all the things I haven’t figured out. If you’d like to skip the wordy part you can head for the pictures at the bottom, otherwise here’s some of the stuff I’m learning these days:
Sharing home and life closely with others is helping me learn how to better navigate living in the mind and body that I have. I have plenty of opportunities to reflect on how I communicate and how I choose to act when I’m frustrated. It’s become quite clear that most of us are not always pillars of patience. If you look closely it’s possible to see the fragile hungry kid inside mature wise adults. I find the childish responses of my grumpy students resemble the response of the grumpy child that sometimes takes up residence in my heart. The friends whom I look to as teachers in this arena seem to be good at being vulnerable in ways that give them deep roots. Of course they have moments of inflamed ego, but their open hearts don’t seem to encase their fragility nearly as much. I’m trying to be more like them.
I’m learning a lot about language too. I am (slowly) learning Korean, and more about English as I teach it, but I’m also learning about the role language in general has in my life. I’m beginning to see language as an imperfect tool we use to construct and communicate meaning in the world. I’m beginning to understand how my language shapes me. Speaking English natively allows me to enter certain circles and makes it challenging for me to enter others. It’s similar when using religious language, or profane language, or academic language, or slang. Language isn’t just grammar and vocabulary, it’s identity. Language can shape, harm, and inspire so much within us. This is why I love words so much!
And lastly, I’m learning that Korean food is basically the best food. I don’t really have any rambling thoughts about this one. I just never get tired of it, and would totally take some Kimchi-jjigae over pizza or steak any day
I’ll be staying in Korea for another year, which will hopefully provide many more opportunities for this place to shape me!