What am I thinking about? Hong Kong, Taiwan and mostly Vietnam. How is that happening suddenly? Well. It just takes one small thing to make you realize that you're still mobile. I'm still mobile.

Am I going to stay in Korea? Of course. I went for my level test today at Inha University. Felt like a total prick trudging out there in the heat only to be told that I am "level one", which is precisely what I told Coteacher to tell the lady on the phone. There was no reason for the hour-long trek in this sweaty weather. But Coteacher said it would be a good experience. Anyway, I've already worked out how to navigate the commute, and find my way around the campus, which, I'm happy to report, is overflowing with slightly younger college boys who are more than eager to help the lost looking foreigner find the 평생교육관 building, and who are overly impressed with your ability to ask for this help in Korean. Maybe it won't be a bad way to spend summer vacation, lounging around on a bench in the shade of the trees, trying out what I've been studying on an easy-to-please, pretty audience.

Motivation? Neeeeeeh.

After the test, a good buddy was on standby via text messaging to commiserate, being that he attended his own language torture yesterday, and didn't score as highly as he needed to. He reminded me, sweetly, that we are both geniuses who can do anything we want to. It's important that I tried. We will get better and we will succeed. Fighting!

There have been reasons to reconsider the future, lately, however. I will definitely stick around Korea long enough to feel that I've conquered it, in some way, if that makes any sense at all. I'd like to have a decent grasp of the language, and reach a moment where I feel I can live here without any difficulty. But my mind is more open than it has been, lately. Something has made me realize that there's nothing particularly crucial holding me here, and if or when I have a reason to go somewhere else, I'll be more than able to do that. That alone has made me settle back down after the events of recent days. No one likes a room without windows or doors. It's not that you plan on exiting, so much as you just need to know that you can.

I am absolutely foaming at the mouth about Vietnam these days, though. Maybe it's like they say -- Korea goes a bit tropical in the summer months, and you're reminded a lot more often that you are in Asia. This morning, in fact, I could have sworn it was closer to Southeast Asia than Asia Pacific, with a daunting storm brewing over my and the boys' heads on the walk up the mountain to school. It broke shortly after we had just about all made it inside, into the heaviest rain I've seen since I've been here. Shortly there after, the clouds cleared and it was a heavy, tropical, sun-filled day. With the boys screaming down the hill that leads up to the school this afternoon, two or three to a bicycle, their summer uniforms unbuttoned and untucked, it almost felt like a different time entirely.

Don't ask me what I've got in mind. You don't want to know. But Vietnam is definitely the next stop for this girl. I'll scope it out soon enough, take some time there on my own to see if it can live up to the picture I've created in my mind. I'm in no rush. For now, Korea. I will fix myself up here. Don't even worry about it.


MikejGrey said...

I watched the No Reservations. Vietnam does look pretty amazing right now. Wonder what they pay to teach english there....

I'm no Picasso said...

I think it's around a thousand US a month for one stint, but from what I understand you can teach privates (which are pretty plentiful) and you can teach at more than one school at a time. You have to pay for your own place, but the cost of living is extremely low. It sounds like Vietnam might actually have a more generous visa situation for foreigners than the ROK does. Of course, in many ways, that's not surprising. We both know the ROK has a lot of catching up to do in its ability to function with foreigners.

Also, in Vietnam you don't have to sign a contract, and you don't have to commit to a year.

MikejGrey said...

Sounds like a good place to go as an ESL teacher. Well if I ever have to do this again I'll check it out.

Maybe in five years we'll both be doing this again in Vietnam, and you can suffer through all of my vietnam jokes.... ah....ahem

Mr Nameless said...

I'm reading about Ho Chi Minh just now. He's my new hero.