Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Perspective Series-To Korea

This week I'm happy to introduce Beka from the blog Sunshine to the Square Inch for the next installment of the Perspective Series. This is a series about expats sharing their experience of living and traveling abroad and how it inevitably changed their outlook and perspective on life. I'm especially excited because Beka is a close friend of mine that I met while she was teaching in Korea. We spent her year in Korea sharing classroom antics, trying to learn how to cook with our limited grocery options and her trying to spread her love of running to me (it wasn't the most successful thing). She's had a huge impact on my life and I can say that living in Korea just isn't the same with out her! *hint hint come back!* You definitely need to check out this sweet girl's blog where she talks about her adjustment from living in Korea to now being married in Oklahoma.
Hi! I'm Beka and I blog over at Sunshine to the Square Inch. I'm so excited to post over here on Lost in Travels. Not only do I love Chelsea's blog but she was one of my closest friends when I lived abroad in Korea.
I decided to move to Korea for several reasons. Mainly I needed a change from my non-stop busy American life and I wanted a year away to refocus and re-prioritize my life. My friend Alisha mentioned that she was thinking about teaching in Korea and I asked her if I could join. We got all our paper work, stuffed 4 suitcases and 2 large carry ons and off to Korea we went and WOW what a year it was. Alisha and I say it was the best year and the hardest year of our life.
Our teaching job was real interesting. Honestly, when I left for Korea I forgot I was going to go teach. However, that didn't last long because when we arrived in Korea around 9pm and our school had us work the next morning. Hello jet lag! School was the "hardest" part of my year. Our school owners had us work from 9am - 6pm and that's a lot of teaching and wore me out. Ironically school was also one of the "best" things in Korea. I taught the beginners students who knew no English. It took a few months but I absolutely fell in love with those kids. Getting to know them personally, see them grow and develop is something I will always treasure. Another best part about school was that I got to tell the kids about Jesus. Some had never heard of anything Bible related and they were so curious.
Another best part of Korea was my church. I attended Okpo Foreigners Church, where I met Chelsea. It's an English speaking church, has about 30 members and has approximately 23 different cultures represented. They were my family for a year and I met so many people from other countries but our common bond was our faith in Christ.
Korea also is filled with wonderful people. I absolutely loved building relationships through sign language, charades and broken English/Hangul. I learned that kindness and a smile goes a long ways.

Ever heard of long distance dating? Yep, I did that in Korea too. My boyfriend, Dave, was kind enough to let me leave for a year to learn and grow. During our time apart we wrote over 600+ emails, filled up 6 journals, had countless of hours of Skype, traveled together to Taiwan for a week and I flew home for Christmas. Was distance hard? You bet! Was it worth it? Yes! I got home February 6th and married Dave on March 24th: and I'm so glad I did!
Coming back to America was major. reverse. culture. shock. I can't fully explain why but leaving the slower paced land of rice and kimchi to the faced paced land of pizza and burgers took some readjusting. Korea taught me that I could live without Walmart, that I could eat smaller portions, that I could walk and not drive and I enjoyed it all. I left America as one girl and came back as another and I couldn't be more grateful.

Thanks so much for writing Beka! Be sure to stop by her blog and show her some love! 

You can read more of the Perspective Series here.

Linking up with Rolled Up Pretty and ShannaRekita