So I can say Korea definitely goes through ALL the seasons. Though I’ve only lived here for 4 months, the raging summer has rolled into a cool and crisp fall season, and the wind has a bite to it that seems to forewarn you that winter is going to be bitterly cold. Its hard to believe that a few weeks ago it felt like 110 degrees here, and now it barely gets to 70 degrees during the day. Fall Foliage is rumored to be magnificent here, so I’m excited to watch it all unfold over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for pictures from my fall adventures!
Its been a bit of a hectic few weeks; Zach has been working like crazy, I’m in my final week of the first part of my semester (5 more classes stand between me and my MBA!!!!), we figured out that getting medical attention on the peninsula is going to require a bit more patience then we are used to, and I was offered a job, which I ultimately decided to turn down. Work is hard to come by for spouses here, so I’m always on the look out, and saw a posting back in August that looked promising so I threw my name in the hat not thinking I would hear anything back. It was an entry level position, but with a global organization, so room for growth for sure. I went in for the interview (which if I’m being honest I didn’t really prepare for) and completely crushed it. I guess I can thank Target for all those crazy ETL and STL interviews I endured through my career, because I knew leaving that interview I crushed it. But I wasn’t in love with the role or the organization or the hours (when would I have time to travel and write these awesome blog posts?!? haha) . It is nice to know I’m still employable after a year gap on the resume, so the search continues.
As for medical attention, we are figuring out that there are not enough military doctors to attend to the number of soldiers and families here. Its a 3 week wait to get an appointment here on post. And if they refer you to a civilian doctor or specialist , there has been so much change and movement with closing the installation in Seoul and moving it down here, the doctors can’t keep up with updated forms needed for referral approval. I’m on week 4 of waiting to get a referral approved to see a civilian doctor: Its been a cluster fuck to say the least, but it forced me to look into other avenues should there be a true medical emergency. There is a Korean hospital in town that actually has an international department that will assign you a translator to help facilitate your care while on their campus, so its nice to know there are resources available in case something should happen before the new hospital opens in Nov of 2019.
This weekend we are taking a day trip to Nami Island and then in a few weeks we have a military ball and a planned trip to Busan for a 3 day weekend. This past weekend was technically a 4 day for the military community, however, Zach ended up working a bit of it, and when he wasn’t working his phone was going non stop. So we made the decision to go somewhere for Thanksgiving where his phone couldn’t ring and he could truly disconnect and get a break from the fast pace that is his job in Korea. At first we were planning on going to El Nido in the Philippines, but apparently since this past April that destination has been on the no go list for military personnel per the state department. So I asked a friend of mine for other suggestions and she mentioned Malaysia. I have to admit, Malaysia was not on my radar to travel to while we are here, but I’m actually more excited about going there then I was about going to El Nido. Its going to cost of half of what it would of cost us to go to the Philippines, there is awesome hiking, and the pictures are breathtaking. So definitely look for the blog post about our first international adventure in Kota Kinabalu!
In the food world, a new Korean chicken place opened not to far from our house and I have no shame in admitting that I have been there twice in the past 5 days. If you have ever eaten at a BonChon in the States, this is BETTER!!!!! Seriously.
One thing I have learned recently about Korea is they have some pretty intense libel laws. For example, if I say anything negative in this blog about a specific business or person in Korea, that business or person have the legal right to sue me…I recently learned this and quickly reviewed all my blog posts to make sure they were not putting me at risk… the panic was real! haha. In the states we don’t think twice about leaving a bad yelp review or going on social media and sharing our horrible experience or not so favorable opinions, but that is not the case here. People have to constantly monitor the spouses Facebook page and delete any posts that might leave someone vulnerable, but luckily, I really haven’t had a negative experience that has moved me to flex my freedom of speech that is not protected here. But its been eye opening to see just how much we take for granted and to see things from another perspective….
Speaking of another perspective, I can say that living in a different country has given me a new perspective about the United States, and my life there in general, and its been kind of eye opening for me to discover. I will preface this by saying that this is my perspective, based on the awesome opportunity I have to live abroad, and it may very well piss you off or offend you, but remember, its MY perspective. I really think it would do every human being (including myself) some good if we would take the time to think of things from another perspective (I am learning so much about the world and even myself through this experience). You don’t have to agree with it, but I feel compelled to share my perspective, so read the next few paragraphs at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
Its hard to avoid all the things that are going on in the States right now, and I have to say that living here in Korea has made me look at some stories in the news in a way that I know I would never have if I wasn’t living here. For example, the headline about the woman harassing Spanish speaking shoppers at a store in Colorado caught my eye. She felt the need to harass a pair of women for not speaking the native language of the country. Initially, I saw the headline and moved on because it didn’t surprise me and that made me sad. But then I thought about my current situation. I am a foreigner who lives in a country where I do not speak the language, not even a little. I go out with my friends and my husband all the time and speak English to one another while out shopping and eating in restaurants. I wonder if the woman who was bold enough to approach these Spanish speaking women believe that our service members and families should be held to the same standard that she expects from the women she harassed? Would she be ok hearing about a Korean approaching a service member or family member and harassing them because they don’t speak the native language? I can only speculate, but it got me to thinking just how mean people have become. And also how short sighted they are. You can read about the situation in this newsweek article.
I have also been watching the dialogue around the #metoo and #himtoo movements from afar, and though I have a firm opinion on those, what I want to share is not my stance on the situation, but how my perspective about how I lived my life in the States has changed since living here in Korea. There is a viral video going around about how its a scary time for boys (its sarcastic) and as I was watching it and the vlogger was going through all the things she couldn’t do as a female if she didn’t want to increase her risk of being assaulted, I realized that I really don’t have to take those precautions while I’m in Korea. It also made me realize just how “normal” it was for me to alter my routine in order to feel safe while living in the States. Here in Korea, I don’t walk around with a key ready in my pocket to stab someone if I need to when I walk by myself, I can go for runs without sharing my route turn for turn before heading out, I can walk down the street with my earbuds in, and I can most definitely be on public transit by myself at night here. I never realized all the steps I took each and every day to give myself some feeling of safety until I came here and realized its not necessary here. And in some regards, this realization makes me miss home a little less. Its so nice to not have to worry about being taken advantage if I look lost, or turn down the wrong street, or am by myself and not necessarily paying attention to every little thing happening around me. Don’t get me wrong, crime happens here. Bad things happen here. I don’t want it to sound like I have completely thrown caution to the wind, but it kind of feels that way because it is different here. I can say that I definitely feel more safe here in Korea then I have ever felt back in the States. And that makes me so very sad to realize. Its been nice to experience life in a different way here and from a different point of view. But like I said, its been eye opening to see how different my normal is in the States versus what it is here in Korea.
Like I said, you might not agree with me in my perspective, but maybe it made you think about things in a different way. Because I know I sure as hell am. And I don’t think its a bad thing. Until next time….