As I sit here underneath blankets and my heater on full blast:
–I can’t believe I made it a whole four months! Wow! That means in two more months it’ll be month six!!! Wow! It’s so awesome to think of it that way. And so cool because I’ve come so far within these four months!
Three Most Challanging Things I’ve Overcome So Far:
1. I’m different and that will never change:
I’m pretty hard to miss walking around in Korea. I’ve had nothing but open arms in Gwangju, but I will always stand out. At first I used to get annoyed with the stares from all ages, pointing from little kids and slow drive bys. To me, it was overwhelming. It got to the point I feared going outside, thinking of how many eyes would be on me and nothing else. All of that has changed. I welcome people who come up to me, touch my hair and ask me where I’m from. I’d be curious too if I never saw someone who looked like me.
2. The language:
When I visited my first convenient store, I used my hands a lot, and even drew pictures. I was so determined to learn Korean. I had my chance to do so at Chonnam University. It was hard–I think all beginners say that. But after a while I started to understand what I was hearing, what I read and what I was saying. But soon my feelings changed. I didn’t want to go to classes, stopped going and for a while put a hold on learning the lanuage altogether. When I came here it was a huge priority of mine to learn a new language, I even studied Hangul (the Korean alphabet) a month before leaving college. I love Korea and know a little of the language, but I guess my passions have moved elsewhere.
For one year and eight months I was vegetarian. I had some things to get over when I came–the chunks of meat in my vegetarian dish of fried rice and kimchi, ramyeon, and the clams in my vegetarian dwenjangjigae. I made myself flexible at school lunches: I ate rice and whatever sauce they had for the day. I’d isolate the meat so I could eat.
It was the principle of survival that made me really think about what being vegetarian was to me. Eventually, I became more frustrated becuase I couldn’t eat as my friends did or be as adventorous as they were when it came to food. SOOO…when I was given soup from my co-teacher I was excited. I opened the package and discovered the potato soup included bacon bits. I ate it anyway. Then a couple of days after that I ate a chicken wrap at Han’s Deli. It pretty much progressed from there.
I’m no longer frustrated about food–I had thought I’m so glad to be eating Rice Krispes (marshmellow has gelatin in it) , Starbusts (also gelatin) and Gummy Bears (same deal). It’s nice not having to worry about what I can’t eat in a restaurant now. However, I don’t eat seafood (except canned tuna and fried fish). I’m happy that I was vegetarian and happy that I’m not anymore.