Friday, December 14, 2012

5, 4, 3, 2...

One more year!

Much to the disappointment of some and the excitement of others, it's official - I've agreed to renew my contract and sign on for a second year of teaching.  You can't please everyone

If you would have asked me a month ago weather or not I was going to renew my contract I would have, with at least some certainty, told you no, one year's enough. In fact, I did tell people that, my mom, friends, grandma and Sara during her multiple attempts to persuade me to stay.  So then, what changed?

Four days into my brothers visit I found myself lying awake at 6am pondering the decision.  I literally woke up at 5:30 am, in a motel room in Busan, in a brief moment of panic followed by shock, as I realized that I'm not ready to leave Korea.  As I lay there tossing and turning for the next hour contemplating the decision, and compiling pro's and con's lists in my head - it hit me. I can't leave yet, my time here is not done.

Conveniently enough the next day when I returned to school my co-teacher asked me very nonchalantly, "so will you stay here next year?"  Shit, it's real, I have to decide - "ugh, er, umm I don't know" was all I could manage to mumble.  She didn't have much reaction but just said "Okay well we have to know by next Friday." thanks...

I think I sat at my desk for close to a half hour staring at the paperwork wondering what I should do. I think the whole time my heart knew what I wanted and what I would eventually decide, it was just afraid to let my mind know it.  Needing to talk it out with someone I made my way upstairs to find some of my favorite students, lucky me they were all gathered in the 2nd floor lounge.  As I entered they greeted me and asked "Teacher, how are you??" when I responded with a moan/grunt combination they knew something was up.  As soon as the word leave came out of my mouth the room was filled with an uproar - no teacher you can't leave, no you stay here forever, stay for 10 years, teacher I love you! Again, I think the place I sought guidance sheds light to what my heart knew all along.  Sure, I could've called or texted my mom to talk about it - but I sought guidance from my favorite students, the ones I knew would beg me to stay.

I got home, where my brother was waiting for me (kind of convenient he was visiting at this time)  flopped onto my bed with a groan followed with "Fuck, I think i'm staying another year".  He proceded to laugh at me but as we discussed it I could tell he knew what I knew - I was indeed going to stay.  I broke it to my mom the next day via Skype, which went pretty well - I should've known she'd support whatever I decided -  did I ever mention I have an amazing family who believes in me and supports the decisions I make, no matter how hard it might make things for them.

Okay so, why am I staying in Korea? To be brief....

1. My students are amazing and I had mini panic attacks at the thought of leaving them

2. I have the ability to travel to amazing places within and around Korea - after deciding to stay i'm continually realizing all the things I still want to see and do here.

3. I don't feel like i'm working and yet there's money deposited into my bank account every month.

4. The kimchi - it's all about the kimchi (jokes aside, I would miss the food)

5. My co-teachers, principal and other staff members look out for me like family.

6. I've gathered a pretty swell group of friends here and lucky me - they're almost all staying..

7. Home will still be home one year from now

8. Buksam, this little farm town stole my heart <3

9. I had one hell of a year, with better bearings and foundation the next year can only be better

10. One of my favorites, which was addressed by my (dare I pick) favorite student, 이장희:
"Teacher, what will you do if you go home"
"umm I don't know"
"Okay, well then you stay here."  
And it's as simple as that...on the bright side, now I have another year to figure out an answer.

signed, sealed, delivered


  1. Hi Stephanie. Thanks so much for the Christmas card. We are really enjoying your blog. Keep it up and have a wonderful New Year. Sue

  2. AWESOME! I'm uuber jealous that I cannot be out there and experiencing everything you are. If i don't make it out there, when you come back we'll need a weekend to tell me all about your adventures. I'm thinking OCB, or sneak into whitney for old times sake.

    1. Sneaking into Whitney is a must, maybe go visit the phone-a-thon too.