Well, it’s time to wrap up three years of living and teaching in Gwangju, South Korea.
It’s been a wild roller coaster that immediately jetted up, kept on crawling up and up, only occasionally dropping a bit, and finally leveling out at the end of the ride at a higher elevation than where it started. I feel like a better, more wholesome person because of this experience. Getting to understand my birth culture helped complete a part of my soul that I didn’t even know was missing. I’m finally proud to say that I am both Korean and American.
By the time this is published, Adam and I will be on a plane over to Kochi, India to start our next adventures.
Here is a list of Korea by numbers:
- 1111 Days (wow, right?)
- 160 banana bread loaves sold
- 25 CouchSurfers hosted (from 15 countries)
- 19 coteachers
- 11 English camps taught (including EIC)
- 10 mountains submitted
- 9 Korean islands visited
- 8 Gwangju News articles authored
- 7 baseball games attended (GO PILL)
- 7 countries visited
- 6 scavenger hunts participated (and won money each time! Go Gwangsters)
- 6 schools
- 5 taekwondo belts
- 5 races ran
- 4 Freecycle Swap, Don’t Shop! events organized (well, more like 3.5! Can’t make it to the next one)
- 3 apartments lived in
- 3 Korean classes completed
- 3 public speeches delivered
- 2 scavenger hunts I put Adam on
- 1 box sent home
- 1 backpack
There are far too many other things I cannot count such as: the amount of new friends made and goodbyes said, number of times I sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at noraebang, number of students taught, bowls of piping hot kimchi stew (my favorite), pot luck dinners, festivals, camping weekends, bicycle explorations, jjimjilbang visits, new hobbies acquired… waaaaaaah! I’m going to miss you, Korea! BUT, I’ll be back.
Here are some of my favorite photos mostly capturing the lovely souls I’ve befriended here. Still, these do not do the three years any justice! Every day was exciting and every weekend was vibrant and full of life and activities. Living in a new environment pushes you to try new things whereas when you’re too comfortable with a place, you’re less motivated to go out and explore. Unfortunately, that is how I’m feeling about Korea these last few months, which means it’s time for me to go.