Sunday, October 13, 2013

Culture Shock: The Changing Tune

So over the past two weeks, culture shock has been hitting me pretty hard. My first month was nothing but sunshine and rainbows and discovery. Then slowly things started irritating me; why does my coteacher not take any of my suggestions? Why is my head coteacher making this so complicated? Why can't people understand me when I try to speak Korean? Why are the students misbehaving? How come they don't listen to me? Why are we teaching the students this? It isn't even correct! This is so frustrating! I'm so frustrated, nobody talk to me. Why does everyone keep talking? Will my head coteacher please just stop mothering me?! To add insult to injury, I got a cold last week which has put me in an even worse mood. At work I began to feel as if my lack of pep was making my coworkers uncomfortable. I became kind of paranoid that they were throwing shade in Korean, while I sat, isolating myself with my headphones because I would rather be isolated with English audio than isolated in a Korean conversation. It feels like time is on warp speed, and I'm not appreciating any of it.

I have noticed that things haven't been peachy, and I definitely haven't, but I didn't want it to stay that way. It's so easy to feel isolated from Korean society, not knowing the language. But to some degree, I will always be isolated, because I'm not Korean and I never will be. However, that shouldn't mean that I should be crabby with people at work for no reason! And I realized this and it was plaguing me. Yesterday, I hit a switch.

I went to my first roller derby practice in Daegu. My first time in Daegu, I didn't really see much of the city. But something about it, being so small and slow, not like Busan or Seoul which are bustling constantly. Something about that really struck a chord, where I just felt the urge to slow my mental gears. To stop overthinking and getting worked up about all the things that have been bugging me. I started to play a song in my head, and it just fit the feeling I had inside. Each place I've been to belongs to a song, and I found the song for South Korea and it changed my attitude in an instant. If I were back home in the states, working a new job, sure there would be little things that bug me about my coworkers, but would I let it plague me this? Hell no. So why should it be different here? I do my best at my job, and I try to be as friendly as I can. What more could I do? Why should I think that my coteachers don't have enough things to worry about, that they would have time to secretly talk shit about me?

I had a lovely weekend, and I am back to starting to feel physically active again (playing roller derby and soccer on the weekends), and it is doing me a world of good. I'm trying to manage my time so I can spend it really doing the things I love. And I'm going to try to make an effort to get out more on my own and see things through the Sam lens, not in a group lens.

So the new vibe for me is what I tell my students:


Here's to person adventures!


P.S. Here's some pictures from last weekend's Herb Festival in Yeongcheon.

Sand mermaid at Haeundae Beach <3


ImGo Traditional School

More ImGo

and some more

at the Herb Festival
bridge at the festival