It is one year ago that I flew to Korea, nervously practicing ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’ in my head and wondering how cold it would get. I now know how cold it gets (pretty chilly), have a slightly larger Korean vocabulary and I am not nervous anymore. 

This country has effected me in many ways. These days I brush my teeth after every meal, order extra kimchi like nobody’s business and have started asking people ‘where are you going ‘ as a casual greeting. I am addicted to avid skin scrubbing and dread the day when weekly spas are no longer in my life. I nod along to K-pop songs and answer ‘maybe’ at least twice as much as I used to. I am used to being surrounded by glorious, peaceful mountains with their many paths and colourful pagodas. My bowing anxiety has greatly diminished, making my daily photcopying trips to the communal teachers room a bit more relaxed: I now just bob away casually while watching the students on gate monitering duty chase the late girls for their name and class number. 

I re-signed my contract with this school which I know is the right move. The students and my co-teachers are wonderful and I love the freedom to plan my own lessons from scratch. Yet I can feel those year-long itchy feet tapping toes in my subconscious. For my life is good here – comfortable and rich and rewarding – but it is not new any longer, and it does not scare me. So I must delve into my own resources to find newness and challenge: writing, climbing, playing guitar; perhaps learning more Korean and teaching myself how to save save save for future adventures.