One year ago, on August 14th, 2015, I had just arrived in South Korea and was slowly adjusting to my new life. I can’t believe how fast this past year has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was waiting for Junkyu in the Incheon Airport, ready to start my new journey. Now I can officially say it’s been one year since I arrived that hot August evening.
My first few weeks were taxing, and I definitely felt overwhelmed. I had to start a new job, go to Japan to get my work visa, and Junkyu and I had to make lots of shopping trips to furnish our new place. We bought hanbok and visited family for Chuseok, and I had a lot of difficulties learning how to do everything in a new way. Korean culture is very different than American and Japanese culture, the two that I know the most about, so I was constantly learning about what to do and what not to do in certain situations.
We also had to plan our wedding while we got to know each other, since we had been long distance for a year before getting engaged. We went through a lot of miscommunication and cultural struggles, and we both changed jobs around the same time. Moving to a new country, redefining a relationship, and changing jobs are all tough situations in and of themselves, but I went through all of those things at the same time.
Christmas time was mostly peaceful, and by then I had figured out how to do most things on my own, such as get around the city and my neighborhood. I learned a lot of Korean, and I signed up to take the TOPIK I, which I did well on. I went snowboarding for the first time, and we took our pre-wedding photos around Valentine’s Day. I gained a lot of confidence and some new friends.
Spring brought beautiful flowers and new beginnings as we tied the knot, I celebrated my 25th birthday, and we booked our honeymoon for the fall. I am completely in love with Korea, and I enjoy so many comforts living here as the wife of a Korean native. I have a lot of things left to look forward to this year, but yesterday, on August 15th (Korean Independence Day) I began to reflect on how far I’ve come since my first full day in Korea.
I hope I’ll continue to improve as a wife and as a person in the years to come, and I’m thankful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had this past year in Korea.