As I know many of my friends back home are wondering about when (and indeed whether) I’ll be home again, here are the reasons I can’t really give you an answer.
In the beginning, I had a plan. I was going to spend 2-3 years in Korea, and then see where the wind took me. I imagined I’d do a CELTA, and go teach somewhere like Germany. Because why not.
Fast forward eight months into my epic (hahaha. pun.) plan, and it’s not what I signed up for. It’s better and it’s worse and now I don’t know what I want.
In a blog post I wrote ages ago where I complained about my job (again), a fellow EPIK teacher in a less than idyllic situation commented “It’s only one year. We can do anything for a year.”
And I’ve proven that. And so has she. (You can check out her blog here). She’s been placed in a worse situation than I have. Also, I think she’s handled it better than I have. I know how whiny I’ve been. I feel like a child saying “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!”
I have, however, handled it for this year (well, for eight months) however poorly.
The question that comes up now is whether or not I’m able to handle this for another year. I keep thinking about all the things I’d be giving up if I decided not to stay. If I stay another year, I can make a more concerted effort to see more of the country. I could try to leave a more permanent record or plan or something like that for whoever comes after me (seeing as I got nothing of the sort). And… you know… the money isn’t bad.
But how much of a masochist would be if I stayed?
After reading a blog post of mine (Between Scylla and Charybdis), a friend of mine pointed out that “being flexible” is not the same things as working constant overtime. Furthermore, constantly accepting more work sets a precedent that I will have to maintain. If I ignore the financial angle of the situation, is it worth spending another year here, knowing what this is doing to my sanity?
The answer is probably not.
But can I afford to ignore the financial side of things? When I go home, I’ll need a car, I’ll need a place to stay (as I doubt either my mother or I will like having to share accommodation again – even though I know she regards one of the bedrooms in her flat/townhouse thing as mine) and I’ll need to find a job.
Am I prepared to spend weeks, or possibly months hunting for a job? Am I prepared to work retail or waitress or something like that in the mean time?
(The answer is yes, I’m prepared to do these things… I’m just not sure if I’m prepared to do the waiting around and being unemployed that this involves. Last time I found myself unemployed after having been extremely busy for a long time, I read four books in a week. Then, I spent several weeks lying on the sofa hating myself and idly contemplating suicide. Should I kill myself today? Nah. Too much effort. May as well stay here and marathon Game of Thrones.)
Do I want to do that?
Theoretically, I face that no matter when I go back. And I know I want to go back home. The question – again – is when.
My co-teachers keep saying ‘next year’ like they’re sure I’ll be here.
I’m not a list making person. I’m not good with working out pros and cons, especially because this isn’t a quantitative thing. The words ‘extra classes’ do not connote the amount of extra effort they entail. The words ‘good pay’ do not explain just how much of a relief it is for me to have money in the bank.
What I fear will happen is that when they do ask me, I’ll answer based on what kind of day I’m having. Some days I think I definitely will stay, and other days I’ll wonder how I possibly could stay.
And all I’m waiting for now is for them to ask.