1.4 Spring 2020 (COVID Archives)

July 8, Asia Time Part ??

Wednesday means tea time with S and today she brought along milk to make us lattes. We walked with our beverages down to the school garden where she quizzed me on vegetables of which I know nothing.

She said her husband wants us all to hang out again and while I’m disappointed he can’t take me to the super secret military tower like he promised, the four of us (son included) will take a day trip to a valley that’s famous for architecture and a wishing rock field for which I am truly excited.

In between our coffee and lunch time I emailed the Busan language program in what I would not call a panic. Mild agitation?

Well, the director swiftly emailed me back and politely noted he had sent me the acceptance… two weeks ago. Two!!

There it sat, waiting to get out of my evil spam folder. Two weeks I worried and there it was, all along. Is there a lesson? Yes, edit the filters on your spam folder because some providers don’t like “foreign sounding” emails, even if you already had a full email conversation with that address.

That was the gatekeeping item for housing so I reached back out to a sharehouse in Busan I had contacted a few weeks ago in my planning and talked with the kind woman who gave me a discount and will help with housing docs I need for immigration.

And then, when I got back home, my international driver’s permit was sticking out of my mailbox. Now I have a way to bring myself and all my various cráppe down to Busan.

So in a single day I have a plan, a house, and a mode of transportation.

Asia Time, friends.

(Asia Time will also likely find me with all my documents at immigration and some crazy hiccup like “you didn’t sign with your full name on the third page” and I’ll run around panicking until Asia Time inserts itself again to save me with its usual last minute grace.)*

Oh, what’s the plan?

I realize I have a lot of conversations with myself so let me tell you!

After my teaching contract ends, I’ll move to Busan for 3 months to do a ten week Korean language program. I’d like to go home for Thanksgiving/Christmas but I don’t know what the world will look like then, and have made plans to stay at the sharehouse for up to six months. I’d do the next level of the language program if I stayed and bonus, if I make good grades, I can get a fifty percent scholarship! Imagine how strong my eavesdropping skills could become…

Taking a six month break was never in the original plan but COVID does what it wants so instead of switching to the now nonexistent fall 2020 teaching contract I had in mind, I’ll take a breather between semesters and develop my Korean skills. And get a tan.

I’ll admit now it’s a little scary to be leaving such a sure thing for such an… unpaid thing but it’s the decision I’ve made and if my time is limited, it’s best to have new experiences!

After, I’ll start a new teaching contract in March somewhere in Korea– maybe I can finally get on with the Gyeongnam plan… or maybe another opportunity will appear. Either way I plan to start another contract in early spring.

I’d never thought I’d be the person so casual and relaxed about major life decisions but once I stopped worrying so much about the end result and accepted circumstances for what they were instead of what I wished they would be, freedom came easily. My heart is light in the face of uncertainty.

This contract life, having the choice to change jobs every year, having the opportunity to see something new even with the uncertainty of “after”?

마음에 들어요.

*Note: Asia Time did show up the very next day in the form of an opaque and complicated series of housing documents I need for the next visa. The letter I got months ago from immigration reminding me my visa was expiring? Threw it away. A utility bill with my name? It only has the apartment number. A copy of the contract then? I don’t own the lease, the school does. Oof. Well, it will work itself out somehow.

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