But before I do that, let me take a few seconds to establish the setting. This post is coming to you from one of the public computers at the Biloxi Civic Center and Library. This is the first time I’ve been in this library (it was built after the old one was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) and I must say, I’m impressed. This place is like a resort for readers, writers, and researchers: high ceilings, comfortable chairs, adequate lighting, and easy internet access. Well done, hometown.
Now, about March. Have you ever heard about those people who get out of prison and then immediately commit a crime so they can go right back? Or how about those psychiatric patients who do essentially the same thing when they’re released from the hospital? If you’ve spent time in Korea, you might even have heard about the phenomenon of North Korean defectors who actually return to North Korea after risking their lives to escape. What do all of these people have in common? Like Billy Bob Thornton’s character in Sling Blade, they don’t know what to do when they’re released from their tightly-controlled environments. That’s what it’s like to leave an English-language school in Korea after three years of employment.
When my last contract ended at the end of February, I had big plans to travel around the country for a month, taking in all the tourist sights I didn’t get a chance to see. Instead, I bounced around rather aimlessly, seeing the occasional movie and visiting odd museums, but unsure of what I really wanted to do or see. For the first week, I stayed in a motel in my old neighborhood and spent a good bit of time packing boxes and mailing them home at the post office a block away. After that, I briefly stayed at a friend’s place, where I sat around in bed most of the day and tried to get some much-needed rest. After leaving there, I spent a night at the amazing Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul. And finally, when my old job called and asked if I’d cover classes during my last two weeks in Korea, I enthusiastically said yes. Work – even overtime work – is preferable to drifting.
Now I’m back home in the States, trying to plot out my next move. For the past six months I’ve assumed that I would leave Korea in March and then move on to a job in Saudi Arabia or Dubai. But as it turns out, dear readers, that’s a lot easier said than done. As much as I’d like to visit a new place and get a higher-paying job in the Middle East, that Korean hook is in deep. I’ll very likely be going back sometime between June and August. 🙂
I’m still a little jet-lagged and don’t really have the energy to post about more exciting stuff (my reunion with Kimchi, for example) just yet, but I’ll try to get caught up in the week ahead. Until then, everyone, it’s nice to be home, if only for a little while.