Friday, January 22, 2010

Knock Knock

It's here! The next step.
After backpacking in Thailand and Cambodia (the catalyst for this here blog and the trip that, despite my fanciful intentions, mostly did not yield the life answers I was looking for), I came back to San Diego to dig in and look for a job. Eventually (I will let this word gently represent the nature of my job search process), I found a job with St. Vincent de Paul Village, a member organization of Father Joe's Villages and San Diego's largest rehabilitation center for the homeless. They centralize all sorts of resources for residents and the public (a medical clinic, recovery and mental health services, career and education classes, etc.) in an effort to help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency. They really help people out (like midwives! hah I love that bumper sticker), and I'm happy to have put in some time here. I took my GRE and am considering a masters in social work, so maybe I'll be back in the non-profit sector, but for now, I'm choosing a different path-- one that takes me across the Pacific to a little peninsula called Korea.
I took a job with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education as part of the government's initiative to bring a native English speaker to every school in Korea. The SMOE will place me in a public school in Seoul and provide me with housing, and the contract is for a year with the option to renew. My sweet visa (it's like the Hey You Can be an Honorary Korean Cuz Your Parent Used to Be One of visas) is good for two years and is easily renewable, so who knows: Korea may be my 'the next step' for a good chunk of time.
My Goals
--I think it'd be easy to go over there and seek out an American bubble-- to surround myself with American friends and to speak English all the time, etc.-- but I want to immerse myself in the culture and become fluent in the language. A big impetus for this move, or at least the move to Korea in particular, is a responsibility to my heritage and the desire to have a conversation with my halmuni (grandmother) past 'I love you.' I realize that 1) I have the same responsibility to my Jewish side (oo maybe Israel's next!) and 2) if you're going to have a limited conversation with someone, 'I love you' is a pretty stellar way to go, but I'd like to be able to speak directly with Halmuni about some of her amazing experiences during the Korean War. I did my best to capture some of her story as part of my undergraduate thesis research, but I'm sure more than a little was lost in translation. I want to take this chance truly to live in another country and not just visit. Also, this is my plan to be Official Favorite Grandchild.
--This is a move of independence for me. I've learned some valuable lessons in my post-graduate year, the gateway year to the real world, but I still have a lot of growing up to do. I want to learn more about what I want and who I want to be, and I want to be comfortable with myself and being by myself.
--I will play frisbee. Korea has an active pickup, league, and tournament scene, and I already have a taste for international frisbee after picking up with the Soidawgz in Bangkok. Maybe I can find a way on to the Korean Worlds team! w00t.
--I will cook. Give Gina a Korean meal and she will eat for a day. Teach Gina a Korean meal and she will host dinner parties. This is my plan to be Official Favorite Friend.
--I will blog and photograph and share my experiences with you. Blogging encourages me to be a thoughtful experiencer and provides a record of where and how I've been, so I'd like to keep it up. I love comments!
I'll miss San Diego, like I miss Austin, and I'm so grateful for everything I've experienced and for everyone who's gifted me with their friendship. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Gina, that is big! I'm so glad I caught you at Lei-Out. You're a real gem and though it makes me sad to know that I won't be seeing you around quite as much, I'm glad that you will be carpeing the diem. On another level I'm glad that you will be embracing your identity. Speaking my dialect fluently and visiting my homeland has always been one of the strongest spiritual forces in my life. I hope you get the same experience.