Ten years ago, today…
On September 1, 2007, I arrived in South Korea for my first teaching gig. I didn't blog about my arrival until a few days later – I still hadn't adopted the one-blog-post-per-day habit.
My first place of work was in a building less than two blocks from where I work now. One of my coworkers at that first job is still a current coworker, despite an intervening complexity of 6 different institutional employers. I had met two others of my current coworkers within the first 6 months.
Although Goyang is a city (suburb) of over 1 million residents, the Hugok neighborhood where I work is a village within the city, and over the decade it's really changed very little, and many of the faces are the same.
The intervening 10 years have seen a few memorable adventures (including my year teaching down south in Jeollanam in a public school) and a long, drawn-out near-death experience: cancer, anyone?
I believe that the latter experience has fundamentally changed my personality. Perhaps not even for the worse – but I seem to have a much less adventurous spirit, now. I rarely fantasize about travel, anymore, whereas that was a near constant in earlier versions of myself. That, of course, is on my mind, since I'm going to be traveling, starting tomorrow, for only the second time since the cancer thing.
I still don't have any clear feeling that this Korean life is permanent. There are strong reasons why it might not be – there's some precariousness to it. Nevertheless, on a day-to-day basis, I operate on a fundamental assumption that this Korean life has, indeed, become my permanent lifestyle. It's convenient to think that way, even if it's not really true. It's comfortable.
[daily log: walking, 7km]