Sometime last week, I woke up and realized that I only have 4 months left in this country. For over a year now, since long before I boarded the actual plane to come here, I have been telling myself that I had plenty of time left in Korea. That has been both my solace and my distress. Solace, because I convinced myself that I had a nearly inexhaustible amount of days to do everything here that I wanted to do….and distress, because I had so much time left to go before I was back in America.
Now, however, I have 4 months left. Not even half a year. Less than 1 semester. Four months. And I no longer have any disillusions about the length of my stay. Ever since that morning last week, when reality hit me, I have been going non-stop. I was worried last year that Korea was making me lazy – because I had convinced myself that I had plenty of time, I often put things off when I could have done them right then and there.
But if Korea made me lazy last year, last year’s procrastination has made me incredibly productive this year. I have a list a mile long of everything that I want to / have to do before I leave Korea on July 14th. And, to get it all done, I’ve been doing them non-stop since that rude awakening I had last week.
If they turn out the way that I’m hoping they will, my weeks from now until July will look something like this….Monday is a light day at school – only 3 classes. So I’ll spend a lot of my time writing letters to the students – in an effort to get them to open up to me earlier than they did last semester, I’m writing a hand-written letter to every one of my new 250-ish students. Needless to say, it’s a rather time-consuming endeavor that’s taken up every second of my spare time at school so far. After work on Monday, I have a Korean lesson with my language-exchange partner, Si-yeon, followed by ballet practice in the evenings. I’ve always hated ballet, but it’s one of the few ways I can improve my swing dancing without actually dancing, and my love for swing has been sufficiently spurred on by my weekend with Jordan and Tatiana, that it’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make :).
Tuesday is a long day. I have 5 regular classes, with the dance class in the evening, making for a 12-hour day at school – I get there around 7:30 am, and don’t get to leave until the clock has nearly completely flipped. On the plus side, I’m not actually teaching that whole time, so I’ll have plenty of time to study Korean or work on my TEFL certification, another thing on my list.
Wednesday is equally long – I have 4 regular classes, with another evening class. I asked for this one, though. I was really missing my old students (I’m teaching all new students this semester), and many of them had come up asking for me to teach one of their classes, so I volunteered to teach an extra club class for any of them who are interested. It should be a fun class – I’m calling it “English around the world,” and each week we’re going to take a different country and talk about it – its customs, traditions, symbols, etc. But nevertheless, it’ll still make for a very long day at school :(. And after that, I lead a Bible study in the evening. I have a feeling that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are going to wear me out….
Thursday is a little lighter. Only 3 classes, so I get to leave early – 4:30 pm, thirty whole minutes, woohoo! 🙂 I have also determined to start going salsa dancing again on Thursdays – I found someone who wants to go with me, and I think we’re going to make a tradition out of it. She went with me last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hadn’t gone in a while because I hadn’t liked feeling like the outsider….but then, when I went back, everyone remembered me and welcomed me – plus I could actually talk to them a bit! So I definitely felt much more comfortable, and I really want to try to go more often. I just wish it didn’t start so late, ugh :(.
Also, I feel more ok with staying out late dancing this semester, because I don’t teach any classes on Friday, other than a lunch class. So I’ll lesson plan, work on TEFL, and study the ever-present Korean language. I also have another regular meeting set up with Si-yeon to study Korean in the afternoon. I really want to improve over the next 4 months!
Saturday mornings will be spent at the public library, reading English books to little kiddos. I started today and it was a lot of fun – they’re so adorably cute!! <3 And then Sunday mornings, since my friend Anthony (who used to lead the worship service at church) is gone now, I will be leading the service. The afternoons will most likely be filled with ultimate frisbee or softball. And that's it! That's my life for the next 4 months! Any free time that I have will be spent doing TEFL, Korean, writing notes to students, freelance writing, catching up on the endless emails that I have constantly pouring in, planning Rachel's bachelorette party, finding housing for grad school in Atlanta, or spending time with my foreign and Korean friends. I've also worked out a strict budget for myself - unless some large unforeseen expense comes up, I should be able to pay off all of my students loans, AND afford a dancing trip to Seoul once a month, by the time I leave Korea. I'm pretty stoked about that :).
I know what you’re thinking: that I’ll kill myself with all of these activities! But never fear, even with this schedule, I only stay out late on Thursdays, so I’ll get plenty of rest. I’m also drinking more water and exercising more, and feel great. Honestly, although I recognize that it’s a lot to do, I’m really stoked about it. I feel motivated and driven again, like I’m actually going somewhere. It’s pretty exciting. And anyway, it’s only for a few months, and then….grad school in Atlanta! Don’t worry, I’ll survive! 🙂