Have you ever looked back at some of your first posts at imnopicasso just to see how far/little/if at all/and how you've changed since first moving to Korea?

Hell no. Why? Because I find looking back on anything I've written in the past, particularly anything bloggish, to be an exercise in self-humiliation. I don't need to know how fucking stupid I was, exactly. I have a general idea of it already.

But seriously, I don't need to look back on it in writing, because I think about it nearly every day. Every time I walk into a classroom and manage to command the attention of the class without any struggle, all on my own, or teach a lesson where every student follows my every word, regardless of whether or not they actually understand any English, and successfully completes the assignments, or sit on a bus and listen in on a conversation (in Korean), or go to the bank or the store or a business dinner and manage to conduct myself in all of the above situations in a completely acceptable manner, without any noticeable struggle.

I especially notice it when I'm around other newer foreigners, and the words that come spilling out of their mouths in frustration or complete befuddlement -- they're the same exact words I had spilling out of mine a few months in. Only now, I'm able to explain it all, or point out how little what I can't explain actually matters.

I'm big on purging. I'm not one to dwell on the past, and I tend to do mass annihilation of any reminder of it, on occasion. Every blog I've ever had before I'm No Picasso (and there have been a few, which have lasted over the span of years) is locked up tight today, and even I've forgotten the passwords to access some of it. But I'm No Picasso is different because, no matter how embarrassing it may be to me personally, I feel like it's important for other foreigners in Korea to be able to see how I've grown and adjusted over my time here. To see how helpless and clueless and frustrated I started out, and to see how I made it to where I am today, which is definitely not completely clued in, but slightly more than functional. Which is really enough.

Sometimes when you're going through some of the things we go through here, it can feel like it's never going to end, and there's no possible way it will ever get better. I get criticized a lot (A LOT) for "bragging" about how well I get along in Korea, in both my job and my personal life. But I don't care -- I'm being honest about my own experience, and I think, with all of the records there are out there of people who come here and end up miserable, that those of us who are happy and successful make it known that it's actually possible. For the sake of those people who really want to make it work, but who are having a rough go of it at the moment. They need to know that if you keep an open mind and keep trying, you can get to a place where Korea can be one of the most fantastic experiences of your lifetime. Not that it's ever without its frustrations and downsides. But what the hell in this life isn't?

Ask me anything

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