11:30 PM Jmo 0 Comments

These past three weeks I've had a lot of time on my hands. And I'll admit it. I definitely didn't use it to its full potential. I filled it with a lot of "shoulds" and not too many "dids". I planned on studying Korean, going to Seoul for a day by myself, making more art than my apartment could hold, and  pushing my body into that ever-torturous realm of "exercising". I was going to treat these past couple weeks as my own sort of New Year. A time to look forward and accept the changes that have been presented before me. And I do still plan to meet them head on. It's just taken me a hiccup or two to accept and adjust. I would be lying if I said I didn't spend a couple days lying in bed staring at the ceiling. A few changes in my life may have brought on a slight bought of...depression(?) Maybe that's too strong of a word... *flips through thesaurus* Nope. That works.

But! I've always prided myself on being able to adapt easily. I'm pretty go with the flow. Move on. That's one personality trait I am proud of. I rarely stick my feet in the mud; unwilling and too stubborn to budge. But the most immediate past has led me to question my neutral tendencies. Maybe it's my old age. What is worth holding on to? What is worth letting go of? What am I willing to sacrifice to make that happen? What am I personally willing to sacrifice? When is it time to stick my feet in the mud? Now?
(Sorry for the gushy, self-reflective, questions that most would roll their eyes at and scoff, "How vague, Jessica." But hey, it's my blog.) I've just had a lot to think about lately. A lot of decisions to make. A lot of exciting decisions actually!
Enough with being ominous: I'm happy to say that I have chosen to re-sign my contract.

After what was a shorter debate in my mind than originally imagined, I've decided to stay. I honestly came here with the mindset of only being here for the duration of the contract. I thought after this I'd be ready to move on and jump right back into the academic world as a student rather than a teacher. Obviously the subjects and school cultures are vastly different here. Obviously, I'm not applying my degree. My BFA. I actually can't draw more than three parallels between my academic life now versus my academic studio practice: 1) I'm in a school. 2) There are students. 3) We use pencils. That's about it. Everything else is different and I realize that I'm definitely entertaining this "limbo" phase. But, after 6 months, I'm finally beginning to realize that I can have it all. And I don't have to feel bad about it. I'm going to grad school. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind. But life's too good here right now. I'm young and I have opportunities and freedoms here to live a little before settling down. The way I've been explaining it to people is that if I have the chance to live another year of my life like this, why pass it up? It's only a year. Grad school will be there for me when I come back. And my artwork can only grow from my experiences here. As long as I push myself to get back to it -which I currently am.
If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself just as much as I am trying to convince you, that may not be too far from the truth. It's scary. I get the same knot in my stomach as I did the night I was packing to move here. Is it really the right decision? But then I think back to all the moments that I've jumped in feet first only to remember that I know how to swim. Big risks seem to pay off for me. What's another year of my life at 24 anyhow? Oh right. That'd make me 25. But for as much as I fret and worry and complain, I do love it here. And I have a feeling that Korea will love my 25 year old self back just as much.

Speaking of changes... last week I went into school for a teacher's meeting only to find out that two of my co-teachers have officially been changed. I was aware of one possible change, but one snuck up on me. Paired together...that makes me one sad waygook. I'll definitely miss working with them, and saying goodbye at the teacher's dinner that followed was no picnic. Yes they're staying in the building but like I said: school culture here is different. I probably wont eat lunch with them again. Or sit next to them on our outings for that matter. But! They assured me that we will get together soon for lunch or dinner in the near future. I look forward to that. My new coteachers seem great though. I look forward to getting to know them as well. They're both very dainty and sweet. One seems friendly and the other more authoritative and stern. But that's good. They're taking over the 5th and 6th grade classes. They need a little sternness...

The weather is also changing! Saturday is supposed to be 70 degrees! I can't be more excited. Well, maybe I could....I guess I'd be more excited if I wasn't carrying around this inner tube around my waist. Summer clothes are my nemesis at the moment. It's a love hate relationship. We are currently in counseling.

My apartment is looking more "homey" and less dorm-room chic. I've put up my paintings from Cambodia, swapped out some photos, and I'm beginning to turn the little corner by my window into a studio space. (Another reason why I'm staying: I have my own apartment, on the 16th floor, in the downtown of a major city. Not bad.)

Spring is coming. It's a new semester. People have told me that I seem happier than I've been in a while. Change is good. The things that have stayed constant are good too. I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with lovely people...and, enough soju to turn those that aren't into lovely people. (Just kidding.) Cheers!


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