One month ago I ended my first year contract at my school here in Seoul. There were some tears at the graduation ceremony, from parents, teachers, and even from some students. I got emotional, but I didn’t cry because my babies weren’t graduating. Precisely the reason why I have signed on for one more year at my current school; to see them out of the kindergarten system.
I’m the first kindergarten teacher they’ve ever had, quite literally. I took them for their very first class on their very first day at kindy (highly nerve-wracking stuff, I tell you), and I have been the only consistent teacher for the whole of their first year after their Korean homeroom teacher changed mid-way through the year. Over the course of the year, I have fallen in love with them, warts and all, and I couldn’t bear leaving them in the hands of an unknown person. They are my class, and they will continue to be until they move up to elementary school next March.
So, yeah, that’s one reason. Another is simply because I want to stay in Korea. Moving out here last year, I never imagined myself only being here for a year, unless of course I really hated living here compared to just travelling. Evidentially, I don’t hate living here and, while I miss home every day, I’m nowhere near ready to move on from Korea right now.
I have an amazing group of friends that is ever-expanding and contracting as time goes on. The core nucleus is mostly consistent, besides Jessica (love you) leaving last month, and I adore each and every one of them (u kno who u r xoxo) with such a might I was worried I wouldn’t find before coming here. I don’t want to leave them – I will never want to leave them – and so I’m not leaving them.
I have also not done nearly enough exploring as I want to. Sure, I have been to a million and five cafés (and thus developed my first ever cavities, wonderful) and have done so many things I can’t remember all of them, but I have barely made a dent in the ever-growing list of things I want to do here. The vast majority of my time was spent in Seoul this year. Besides my family trip to Busan (during which we visited two places I have been before) the rest of the year was spent in the capital or Thailand. Across the next year I want to explore other cities, go on day and weekend trips, see the gardens and mountains and parks and monuments and museums and galleries and everything else that I forewent for laziness and shopping trips this year.
All of this is without mentioning the upcoming visits from family and friends that I already have planned for this year (and the next lol). I’m too excited to introduce my sister and aunt to my second home, as well as hosting some special friends, and having my parents come to visit again. There is something very special about sharing such a large part of yourself with the people that matter the most.
So there you have it; a little life update. I’m not finished in Korea, so here’s to one more year in the Land of Morning Calm… At least. 😉
Photos by Fii at the Style Nanda Pink Pool Café in Myeongdong.