LIVING IN KOREA!
My Pros/Cons list of returning to Korea or staying in Austin, TX.
1) Loved it (culture, food, people, etc.)
4) Fantastic Hiking, biking, and climbing
5) Clean air (unless you are in Seoul)
7) Fully matched retirement (even for US cit) ( I could
actually get retirement there, and not some joke
like $600/mo from Soc. Security in the US)
8) Jjimjilbang! (spas for $6/visit for hours and hours of
relaxation and hot water!
9) Food! (delish, health, affordable, organic)
10) Farmer's markets (you don't have to pay extra to
eat local or organic)
11) New sites to see in Korea (travel)
12) Proximity to other Asian countries (Japan, China, India, SE Asia, etc) and Oceania (NZ, Aus) travel!!
13) Can save lots of $$$ (rent paid for)
14) Acupuncture! $6 per visit!
1) Best friends and family are here
2) The chances of finding a life long companion are minimal (Foreigners want the pretty Korean girls, Koreans want the pretty Korean girls, major cultural differences unless you are an obsequious breeding type less than age 30)
3) Horrible cold winters
4) Harder to make good friends unless you like to get
drunk every weekend with all the other expats
5) Clothes and household items are very expensive
6) No Bikram (depends on city)
7) Probably have to travel alone
What to conclude from this list: if I don't get hired at Sudbury-- I will look for jobs in Korea!
I must admit to my ambivalence upon leaving Korea; it's been delightful seeing friends and eating dinners out and rejoicing in my last few days here.
On my run today, I thought how much would I miss running my familiar route along the sea with the backdrop of mountains. No matter how many times I have run the very same route, at one point in my run, rounding a curve, I am always in awe at the backdrop of mountains towering over the seascape. I think I will miss this aspect most of all: mountains and ocean combined for my enjoyment during biking and running. There is so much I did while I was here, and yet, so much I was unable to do. Sigh. I will definitely miss my kids. I loved having 90 children to teach, to laugh with, to encourage, to comfort; I truly enjoyed them. It was nice to go home at the end of the day and have no children though! Teaching is great: part-time Mothering. Love it!
I will miss Korean food for sure! So healthy, so much variety. The only drawback is that I wish I could have eaten
Tourism Links and General Info
http://www.koreastorytelling.com/eng/ Audio tours of different cities and info
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FU/FU_EN_8_7_3_1.jsp Official Korea Tourism site, tons of links and info!
I've done a lot of web research looking for info on Korea: blogs, news sites, etc. I have to say, the only useful blog I've come across, with accurate, up to date info, unbiased commentary, and with information that's truly useful to those considering a move to ROK, (or already here), is Tom Gates' Red Dragon Diaries. He's been in Korea for 3+ years now and regularly updates his site with interesting videos on life in Korea. Sure, there are plenty of blogs out there, but they tend toward opining their expat woes of living in Korea, they blatantly Korea-bash, they are for entertainment purposes rather than information, or they tend to be biased op-eds, as opposed to factual presentation, highlighting unique aspects of Korea, and just offering helpful info, like Gates' site does. Check it out. He's also on Facebook. His blog was a great resource prior to my move last year! Kudos Tom!
Great national health care and national pension retirement plans, healthy and delicious food, a culture that honors life and family and non-violence and respect itself, less disparity between classes... just a few of the reasons I find living in Korea so much better than living in the USA.
Another reason: it's Election Day and a designated holiday, so the people can vote!
I love Korea!
I absolutely love the health care system here in Korea, especially when watching the ongoing debacle in the US, with their so-called "affordable" health care program being forced upon citizens. I am so glad I don't live there. Anyhoo, rant over.
The point being: I pay $67/mo. for my health insurance here in Korea, and it covers acupuncture!
I've had knee pain on and off since 1996, when, as a runner, I kept running through the pain, instead of listening to my body and taking a break to allow healing. Of course, I had only been running a few years at that time, but had found my true love: RUNNING! Seriously, I cannot see myself existing in life without running. I'll be running when I'm 90. I'll be running toward the casket hehehe... shambling along perhaps, but without a cane or walker, for damn sure! Back then, I was obsessed with splits and fartleks and heart rate and mileage and time. I was working toward a marathon finish! I can still recall my first "runner's high"; achieved on the UTSA Health Science Center track in San Antonio, TX, during my (then) first run of 5 miles or more. I had just finished the uphill portion and was enjoying an easy downhill after the curve when I noticed--in surprise--that my heart was beating at a slow, regular pace, that I was breathing easily and without effort, and that I was running without effort! I had hit a stride and pace with such ease I hadn't even noticed the transition. I was gliding. I wasn't running fast by any means, maybe an 8- or 9-minute mile back then, but there was a sense of ease to it that is hard to describe, a feeling of "this feels good!". Effortless. And from then on, I was always chasing that "high" sense of ease; I always wanted my runs to be be that effortless, but found I had to hit the 5-mile mark before they became as such; before I felt a sense of exhilaration and "I can do this forever no problem!" Take note: at mile 10, that feeling ends, ha ha, and I'm back to the grind of huffin' and puffin' and fatigue. Soon after, I was running my first 10-miler. Then the knee pain begins. I'm around mile 8 or so. I ran through it, and when I hit 10 miles I was favoring my left leg to the point it was more of a skip or limp-type run than an actual run. But hey, I finished that 10 miler in good time, although I suffered what has become a lon- term injury in the process. I also recall getting out of bed the next day and promptly falling to the floor due to a knee that wouldn't support me. To the student health clinic I went, and was promptly misdiagnosed by an intern. But that's another story.
Since then, I've learned to heed the pain, and although I did finish a marathon years later, I finished in pain and took a lot of time off afterward. 2 weeks turned into a year...? Now I keep my runs under 10 miles, take walking breaks, and when the knee aches-- I stop (mumbling, cursing, and irritated, but I do stop).
So, back to the acupuncture story. Yes, I do have a point, even though I take the circumspect path I take to get there... My acupuncture visits are about $9 U.S. (9,700 Korean won). Dr. No isn't his name awesome! speaks excellent English and he recommends a course of 10 sessions to see if we can heal my knee. I also happen to be seeing him for my sprained ankle, injured in Busan two months ago, that is still affecting my mobility and giving me pain! He believes we can repair the damage to my knee ligaments without surgery, and wouldn't that be fantastic. Unfortunately for my body's self-healing ability, I've had in the back of my mind a lurking thought: somewhere in the future, I will have to get some kind of surgical repair done so that I can continue running. No, I will not stop running; I am a runner, and walking bores the crap out of me! I recall a lecture I heard by Wayne Dyer, referencing a study he had read: a sample group needed surgical knee replacement/repair because their activities and lifestyle had become impaired to the point some could barely walk. They all went into "surgery", which was "faked" without their knowledge. Although they underwent anesthesia and the whole process of surgery, they were never actually operated on. This has to be the best example of The Placebo Effect of which I've ever heard! All of them showed incredible improvements after the "surgery", playing sports and being more active than ever. (Later they were told told of the "surgery" and all were happy.) So I've been focusing on visualizing my healthy knee, and working on believing that the acupuncture treatments will repair my knee!
The sensation of the needles (rather, in my mind's eye, the fear of pain of the needles being inserted) caused some anxiety, which diminishes in less than oneminute, but the TENS unit created such an unusual feeling in my leg and overall body, that I had to really focus on my breathing and the sensation of my breath to alleviate the anxiety. Understand, the needles cause absolutely NO PAIN at all. As I mentioned, it's the anticipation of pain that creates anxiety. But the feeling of not being able to control my leg; of it moving of it's own accord, was rather ghastly and disturbing, but I breathed through it and am all the better for it.
As I write this on the morning following my acupuncture treatment, I notice my energy level is higher and that I feel really good. I've been suffering quite a bit of fatigue lately, and don't know whether to attribute it to stress, rock climbing, poor diet, or all of the above. But I notice after I have a treatment, I feel much better (this is my second treatment, though the first was for a separate issue). The Doc recommends 3 treatments during the first week, since my injury is severe and has been plaguing me on and off since oh jeez that's a long time! 1996, and a total course of 10 treatments. To me, this a happier and cheaper alternative to, say, multiple orthopedic surgeon visits, followed by arthroscopy, followed by surgical ligament repair or meniscus scraping, followed by months on crutches, physical rehab, and then no running for months on end. Then again, if I have to go through a western surgical approach that to fix my knee, I am willing! But in the meantime, I love the acupuncture treatments, am laughing that it costs almost nothing, and am in joy that it's a traditional, revered healing mode in Korea and easily accessible! Yay!
OMG! Ms. Jeong informed me yesterday that we're getting SIX days off for Xmas!!! That's in 3 weeks and I'm not prepared!!! I'm not sure where to go... And can I afford a vaca??? Two people have recommended the Philippines, which should be warm with beaches!!!
My first thought was Australia, but flights are expensive and long.
Hmmm, do I just throw financial care to the wind and go?? ( next vaca is not until July), or play it safe and buy more winter clothes (needed!) a bike to get around, and just travel around Korea by train???
...is in Korea loving Korean food and culture!