Endings and Beginnings

Finally! I can sit down and blog! This past week has been a roller coaster, but things are slowing down for now. I am currently in my new home in South Korea, and I’m taking advantage of my time off before I start my new job and get into a routine to catch you guys up.

So before I left Japan, I decided to order a violin. I watched videos online at work (hey, I had a week of no classes!) about which ones to buy and what kind of things to get along with the actual violin. I have been obsessed with Lindsey Stirling and the idea of playing violin for quite some time, so I decided to take the plunge. In high school, I did band and choir but never felt really included in either, so I immersed myself in theatre and other activities, but I always wanted to get better at sight reading music, playing piano, and my dream of becoming a violinist never went away.violin

I decided that no time is like the present, and ordered one to be sent to my mom’s house in America. When I got there, it was waiting for me. I had to try tuning it on my own, and I learned to play a song or two through watching YouTube videos, but I felt like it wasn’t enough. I looked into taking a class but I was leaving soon and didn’t think I could. However, someone called my mom’s phone (since I didn’t have one in the States) asking if I was still interested, since I had emailed them a few days before.

She signed me up for 4 lessons, 30-min. each, but since my time was short, we made them into two 1-hour sessions instead. The teacher I had was great. She told me she’s played violin for 40 years and we got along really well, and she put up with my squeaky mistakes without getting on to me. I usually don’t do well with teachers who constantly correct my mistakes, but she let me improve on my own, and gave me things to work on (and a free practice book!) while I’m getting settled in Korea. I’m not sure if I can find an English-speaking instructor here, but I might be able to take violin lessons in Korean later on. Who knows? Right now, I’m taking everything a day at a time.

Also, while I was in Japan, I applied for a bunch of recruiters to help me find a job in Korea, and I got started on the incredibly long paperwork process. My mom helped me apply for my FBI background check, and all the extra steps after that. It was long and arduous, but we got all my documents and I started really applying to jobs. However, finding a job in Korea as an English teacher right now is kind of difficult because the pool of applicants is pretty big. I wanted to be picky because I didn’t want to move all the way here just to take a hagwon job that ended at 9 or 10pm (meaning I couldn’t eat dinner with my fiance most nights) and I didn’t want to wake up at noon to get to one of those jobs, either. I grew fond of my 8-4pm schedule in Japan, so I wanted something similar.

A big reason I hated my job in Japan was because it was too much to handle. Too many schools, classes, students, teachers, and transfers and rotations. It was hard to do anything consistently, and I always felt under-utilized and in perpetual guest mode. I wanted something where I could spend most or all of my time getting to know the people I work with and my students.

While I was in America, I ordered my wedding dress, spent time with family, and saw my friends, but I was still stressed about finding a job and getting to Korea. I decided not to wait to find a job, and bought my ticket to Seoul. My fiance Junkyu was already getting our apartment set up, but he was waiting on me to pick out our furniture, and I wanted to hurry up and get here so I could stop living in limbo.

Miraculously, I got an email from one of my most dedicated recruiters, telling me a job I had interviewed for but didn’t get was hiring for a different position in September, and they were considering me. After a grueling weekend of waiting to hear back, I finally got word that I had been offered the position. I printed off and signed my contract and the next morning, I got on my plane to Korea. I was ecstatic that I found a job before I stepped on the plane, otherwise I would have been stressed the entire way here.

Junkyu picked me up at Incheon airport and we drove to our new home, a two-story apartment (known as a villa in Korean) in a building housing only one other floorplan, similar to ours. We live in a neighborhood that’s mostly new and under construction, but we are close to both of our workplaces (our jobs are about a three-minute walk apart from each other) and we are near a university that he wants me to eventually work at, after I graduate my Master’s program.

We spent the weekend with our friends and family, eating barbeque and playing in the river. We went shopping, cleaned the apartment together, and yesterday we sat down with his friend to pick out our furniture (at factory price, since his friend works for the company). Yesterday afternoon, I went to a photo studio and got my picture taken for my visa. It was a huge studio with lighting, editing, a nice camera, and even hair and makeup space. Much nicer than the other two times I needed a visa picture and got it taken at Walgreens… Right after we got my pictures, we went by my new place of work where I had a meeting with the CEO.

My new job is at an all-English Christian Kindergarten, and the space is really nice, and half of the teachers are foreign. I met with the teachers and got to meet some of my students, and I’m really nervous but excited to start. I’ll be teaching one class of 9 students with two other teachers, and I get off before dinner time everyday, so all of the boxes on my checklist are checked off! The CEO and another guy talked to me about a possible start date, and today my recruiter called me about when I should go to Japan to get my visa. I will probably go next week, and the ironic thing is that I’m going to Fukuoka. I said bye to all my friends there, but it looks like I’ll be seeing some of them really soon.

Today I’m going through my luggage and the boxes I sent here, organizing the tons of books I brought with me. I’m going to have a reading room upstairs next to our music studio, which my fiance already equipped with two keyboards, a microphone, a two guitars, and a bunch of editing software I couldn’t explain to you if I tried. Even though we feel comfortable here already, there are still a million things we need, and even though we’ve been to the store twice already, we probably need to go again tonight.

I feel more relaxed now that our house is finalized and my job is in order, and I’m proud of myself for handling the move well. I had a lot of worry and doubt when I was in Japan, but that’s all gone now. I’m so excited to keep updating you on my life, as there is plenty more to come!

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