Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seoul: Kind of Tiresome, but Still Good

I have been living in Seoul for almost a year now, and I feel like I am becoming more integrated into the culture of the city.  It seems like I am always "on the go," and I'm not accustomed to living life like that, being that I am a Louisiana boy.  Lately, I've been feeling rather fatigued when arriving at my apartment after a full day of work.

Currently, I am holding two jobs.  I am still a full-time elementary school teacher.  I no longer work at my school at Incheon.  I recently got a new job at a school in Anyang, still teaching for the After School Program.  I am also teaching business English near Gangnam in the mornings, a job that I started recently.  (It's legal.  I have an F-4 visa.)  Holding two jobs can be a lot of work, and can be tiresome, but nonetheless, it is rewarding, and I am loving what I am doing.

Regarding my business English job in the mornings, I am the personal English teacher of a CFO of a company here in Korea.  Many times, I am self-conscious, and am wondering whether or not I am doing a good job, but recently, she gave me a compliment that I really enjoyed receiving.  She has a really large vocabulary, and her grammar mistakes are minor.  She just needs more confidence in her ability, and my objective as her teacher is to instill that.  She asked me in a Korean accent, and in the careful thought out manner that she normally speaks in, "Have you ever considered teaching as a volunteer for orphans, or the poor?  ...  Because you are a very good teacher."

I was especially happy to hear that, considering, lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed.  I live over an hour by subway from my business English job in Gangnam, which is an hour away from my school in Anyang, which is where I go immediately after, and that is an hour away from my home in southwestern Seoul, and on many nights after work, I have church and social commitments.  On busier days, I am on the subway for over three hours, sometimes more.  On some days, I find myself leaving my apartment at 6:15 in the morning, and returning at around eleven in the evening.

There is something relaxing about being on a train with my headphones on, listening to my favorite music, and flipping pages through an ebook quietly, while standing amongst all the people who are doing the same thing, and all entering and exiting the train, going to and coming from different places as the train regularly stops and goes along the same line that I am on.  There is also something about traveling/commuting, especially when waiting is involved, and especially when it is around so many other people, that induces fatigue upon the body.  And that is my greatest struggle at the moment.

I have made a lot of friends here, as God has really blessed me through my church, Onnuri English Ministry, but many times, I feel a need to sit home and recharge during my off time, instead of being social.  Both of my jobs involve a considerable amount of heavy and close interaction with lots of people, and so does my commuting.  The more I learn about who I am, the more I realize that I am extroverted, but at the same time, even the most extroverted of people need some time alone to recharge.

Lately, since living here, I have reserved my Saturday mornings for relaxing, watching NBA basketball, having a large breakfast, and drinking coffee in my apartment.  I sit, and relax until I am hungry again, then I order delivery.  After that, I usually take a nap, then I wake up, and usually, at around dusk, I am ready to see people again.

On a random weeknight, while winding down from an especially long day, while having my nightly devotional, which includes prayer and daily bible reading, I told God about my jobs, my commute, and my fatigue.  I spilled my heart out to him.  And as I was doing so, I believe he spoke.  I felt it deep within my heart.  He said, "This is preparing you for something else.  Be strong."

I immediately felt invigorated.  I know that I am here for a reason, and despite all of the difficulties, it feels good to be achieving a dream.  It feels good to be living life confidently and successfully, while having to put forth a considerable amount of effort.  And it feels especially good to be living life with a purpose.

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