I've been on and off living in Korea for nearly four of the last six years, which according to many of my friends means, "My Korean must be so good". While I would love for this to be true, it's not. I could list all of the excuses, coming and going, having waves of motivation to study, losing interest and then coming back again, but ultimately it's up to me. The number of times I've cracked open my books, only to close them again is growing too high. I found an awesome Korean Language Scholarship program a year in and a half ago, an answer to my problems. Finally, after all of the "should, next time, soon" talk, I took the plunge and here I am, first week of classes at Geumgang University.
While I haven't actually started classes yet, I've successfully moved into my dorm (yes, dorm), met some new friends and had a look about the campus. I knew before coming that this school was in the countryside, but the extent to which it is cut off from the rest of the world I greatly underestimated. On a map the school looks pretty close to Daejeon, but an obnoxious mountain range stands between me and the big city. Driving it takes about an hour so it's not terrible, but living in Korea I've grown accustomed to having a mart and plethora of restaurants a five minute walk away. Here the only thing I can walk to in five minutes are the cows down the street or the temple in the mountain, but I'm not complaining, just adjusting.
After all, I'm here to learn Korean, so hours of spare time for studying or practicing with my new classmates should be just what I'm looking for. It is nice to be surrounded by nature, waking up to chickens and temple chimes rather than motorbikes and drunk ajossis, I just have to figure out my days. I've already considered taking up running again, there's plenty of small country roads out here for me to explore, ironically the same terrain where I first found a love for the sport, so we'll see. I've yet to find myself a comfy corner of campus for yoga, but I'll explore soon.
Only a few months ago was I talking to my cousin about the weird adjustment phase during the first few weeks of school, remembering myself how much I hated that my freshman year. Now, here I am doing it myself. I arrived along with about ten other girls, all of us in the Korean Language Program, so it was easy to meet a few new faces, but building friendships is a different story. I get along with all of them so far so I'm hoping things continue that way, and plus I'll be meeting the other students in the program soon, those that renewed after one or two semesters of studying here.
I also finally met my roommate last night and any worries I had about who it would be were squashed. She's very sweet and was "thrilled to have a foreign roommate", so that was good news for me. I was kind of hoping her English would be poor, pushing me to speak more Korean, but she seems to do okay. It's crazy, she's actually the same age as some of my previous students. The first bunch I got to know so well after two years teaching them at Buksam High school. I'm still not sure what the weeks will be like, it seems there will be loads of spare time with not much to do (study!), but we'll soon find out. I don't want to be a weekend runaway, but right now, with a boy waiting in Daejeon that just may be how things go.