I’m sitting in a Korean cafe, drinking a mighty tasty bubble green tea. They’re playing Michael Bubble over the speakers. On my way here, I passed a woman with a shower basket, presumably on her way to the jimjilbang(bath house).
This is my first time venturing out of my comfort zone in Korea. Sure, the language I’m using is pretty rudimentary. Mostly I just say, “Ice Green Tea Latte Jusaeyo”(I want a green tea latte). That’s only one Korean word I’m using! Oh, and I can understand when they tell me, “Ooh Chon Won” (5,000 won). So I have numbers and needs covered. Not much, but I’m still happy.
Even back in the States, I had trouble going out to do different things by myself. If I wanted to visit a new restaurant or store, I brought a friend along. Everything is less scary when you have someone else with you. Here in Korea, I’ve visited a few stores with my co-teacher and fellow NET(Native English Teacher). Those are the stores I’ve come back to in the last week. Kind of silly for someone who moved across an ocean. If I can do that, I can spend time in the local shops!
Now that I’m working with my students, I’m even more motivated to learn Korean. If a 4th grader can use gestures and some basic vocabulary to make themselves known to me, I can make an effort! After all, I’m the one speaking the foreign language here.
Korea has been a wonderful adventure so far, with only a few hours spent hiding in my apartment after school. I want to break the habit of hiding away while I’m here. I could have applied for some minimum wage job back home if I wanted to hide from the world.
There are wonderful new sites outside of my front door. Sure, I look like a complete tourist lugging around my big DSLR, taking pictures of everything; but it is pretty hard to blend in here when you are taller than most of the women and have orange hair. Why not embrace my foreigner status, and just look around?