First off, I want to say sorry. Sorry for effectively dropping off the face of the Earth for the past few months.
I can't really begin to describe everything that has happened in my hiatus. (The difficulty of that should be self-evident.) Instead, I'll just do my best to write whatever comes into my mind.
It's no secret that I'm having a really hard time in Korea. Or rather...I'm having a really hard time with my job in Korea. There is inherent difficulty in teaching six classes (most of which don't have firm pre-constructed curriculums) to ESL students as a first year teacher. I know this. Yet I have still felt like a failure countless times. The stress of teaching is compounded by the fact that if I fail I'm not the one who suffers. I've had to pretty much set that thought aside, however.
There was a time when I bounced back and forth between asking myself why am I here (to work every waking of the day, rendering myself to tired to even realize that I'm not just at KFS I'm also in KOREA?) and beating myself up for not being a great teacher. Then I realized that I'm trying, and my teaching abilities will rise along with my morale and mental health.
All right, this boring saga has continued on long enough. I started taking hapkido (which, if you have been one of the fortunate few who have talked to me in the past month, has quickly become all I talk about--besides school, that is). I started taking Korean lessons. I made myself a very ambitious training schedule for the Hong Kong Marathon in March. Yes, it does sound like I'm trying my very hardest to burn myself out, but at least I feel like I'm using the opportunity I have to live in Asia:
I revel in feeling like the epitome of moronic as I contort my mouth and focus on tensing my throat while trying to pronounce Korean consonants and vowels. (All the talk about the refreshing logic of Hangul, the Korean writing system, is well founded, which offsets the fact that the phonetics confound me.)
I love getting a confused look on my face then trying to kick or roll in some position that my body will never acquiesce to in hapkido.
The marathon training has gotten off to a bit of a slower start due to its untimely coincidence with first quarter grading and a strained hamstring, but I'm still optimistic about that, too. Coaching the cross-country team, while aggravating, have given my legs some much needed beatings, too.
I didn't intend the tone of this belated post to be sullen; in truth, I'm finally starting to enjoy myself here in nearly all venues. Teaching is going better, I've come to really appreciate the friendship of some of the other teachers, I'm excited about hapkido, I've been reading great books, I've been exploring...but something is still missing, so I'm working on that.
Keep bugging me to update the blog, folks. The hardest part is stepping out the door.
I have a cell phone--er, "han-do p'hon" as it's known in Korean--now (and a regular phone, which I've always had...), so if you want to call me...