My Adventures in South Korea

Oh, the Places We’ll Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Dr. Seuss and his book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”. Dr. Seuss’s wrote his books in such a simple way, yet in his writings, you will find some of the best advice on life and living.

It hits me at some point everyday that I am not in Kansas (well, in my case, Orlando) anymore. The idea of that is so exciting and also so scary now!

Teaching has been wonderful. There are moments with their own challenges but I am learning the best ways to handle them. I am finding a way to bond with each of my kids and now that I am learning their personalities (and names!), I am finding that we are gaining a mutual respect for each other.

The kids are so smart here. They still say things though that I think can be somewhat lost in translation.

Here is an example. Today I had a kid say something interesting to me.

Kid: “Teacher, your eyes are so big.”

Me: “Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Kid: (Draws 2 sets of circles like oo & OO) “Teacher, normal eyes (points to small circles) Your eyes (points to big circles)”.

Me: “Okay, I take that as a compliment too”

Kid: “Your eyes can be scary”

Me: “Okay…” 🙂 You got to love kids though! For them, my eyes are so different! They are looking for ways to use their english and sometimes don’t know the best fit for words. In moments like this, I guide them to words that they might be looking for, even if he does think my eyes are scary!

“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

So, as exciting as it is to be in South Korea, I do have my moments where I will wake up and get anxiety from being here. I will suddenly crave to be back in the States (for the moment that is). Skype is truly amazing! Anytime I have had a moment like that, my parents have been a Skype call (and time zone) away!

I think it is good to be honest about all the hurdles you face. Nothing in life is easy and I don’t think it should be. I think challenges are what make us grow as people. These moments of fear are what define us and make us who we are.

South Korea can be a place where some days I question. For the most part though, I really, truly, and honestly believe that coming to live and teach here is and will be one of the best decisions I ever made.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

So, like I have stated before, while in South Korea, we try to make the weekends a time to explore! Every weekend, John, Beeta and I will choose a new place to explore or visit, even if it is just a new place to eat. We have had our fair share of frustration though, especially with not knowing the language and/or where we are.

This weekend, we went to Insadong, Seoul. It is a great area for shopping and now that I have gotten paid, that can be a scary thing. 😉

We also visited the city of Suwon. There are 2 World Heritage sites here. Because we can’t read the language (or speak it for that matter), it took us almost the whole day to find where we wanted to go. We left around noon and got on a bus that we thought would take us right where we needed to be. Over an hour later, we got off at the station we thought we needed to be at, only to find we were supposed to be on another bus. We get on the second bus and 30 min later we ask the bus driver if we were going to the Palace. He tells us no (in korean) and implies that we need to be on another bus. The third bus was surprisingly the charm though our moods were drained. Finally, we visited the palace and the fortress and though we didn’t get to stay for long, both sites were beautiful!

Moments like these can test you but that is the adventure of being in a country where you can’t read and write and everything you do is based off of guessing.

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I encourage people to travel as much as they can in their lives! There is a great big world out there and so many fascinating people who want to explore it just as much as you might want to.

It is amazing how we as people, no matter what country we are from, are different yet so similar to each other. If people just take the time to learn about different cultures and ways of life, I believe there would be less ignorance which in turn leads to less hate.

We have the power to choose to travel and learn. It’s a great big world out there! Don’t ever limit yourself!

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Enjoy the pictures below! 🙂

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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The view from our apartment at night.

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A fire blower in Hongdae!

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Shopping in Insadong 🙂

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Visiting one of the Palaces in Suwon. It was so pretty!

Till next week! 🙂

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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6 Responses to “Oh, the Places We’ll Go!”

    • talaghemand

      Thank you Katie! We miss you too!! Beeta still talks about Lenox! I hope all is well in Chicago! 🙂 You should come visit Seoul! You would love the shopping here!! ❤

      Reply
  1. bfreeinkorea

    Lol. The comment about our eyes being big is so true! I have all the Korean teachers at my school telling me the same thing.

    I hope to check out the Fortress in Suwon this weekend or next. I’m actually not far from it (maybe a 10-15 min walk)! I’m teaching at SLP BukSuwon.

    I can totally relate to everything in this post! I’m sure every other new teacher in Korea could too 😉

    Reply
    • talaghemand

      The Fortress was really pretty! 🙂 Hope all is well with your teaching! I have only been here for less than 2 months but let me know if you need advice on anything!!

      Reply

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