Yesterday, at around 11:00 AM I signed a contract to teach in South Korea. I carefully reviewed the contract prior to signing, and asked all pertinent and prescient questions ("What exactly does appropriate-length skirt mean?").
Before going further, I should note that I tend to live life in a "shoot first, ask questions later" fashion. This sounds more dramatic than it really is. What I mean to say is that I have a habit sometimes of doing things without entirely thinking them through, because things will probably work out OK. After all, they usually do. I have yet to end up losing life or limb. Additionally, I tend to think of life as a narrative, so I'm always hoping for a way to make my story a little bit better. Which would be more readable, me staying here and knitting hats, or going to a foreign country wherein I might discover new things about a different culture or myself or the snack products sold at local convenience stores?
For approximately sixteen hours after signing and sending the contract, I progressed through various stages of panic (Denial: I did not just do a potentially foolhardy thing. Anger: I'm an idiot for doing a likely foolhardy thing! Bargaining: Well, it's only one year of foolhardiness, and I can save money to spend on less foolhardy things once I return to the States. Depression: Man, am I going to miss my cat while I'm doing this foolhardy thing. Acceptance: Yep. That was pretty foolhardy.)*
I spent hours poking around the internet trying to learn Korean, because obviously that's the sort of thing that just happens magically between the hours of 1AM and 4AM ("Look, Ma! I can speak Korean!"). I started with the alphabet, which is only sort of an alphabet, and I found this video handy. It incorporates mnemonics that seem to help with pronunciation. Anyway, it started out innocently enough: the alphabet, children's songs, K-pop... But soon it devolved into me looking at information about how North and South Korea are squabbling, and reading this on the U.S. Embassy's website, which, while it is intended to reassure, really had the opposite effect. Eventually I fell asleep around four, mumbling the words to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, which I had heard in Korean, but only remembered in English, and consoling myself with the notion that should something horrible happen, at least it'll make for an interesting story.
At quarter to six, my cat woke me so that I could address the urgent matter re: the emptiness of his food dish. Maybe I won't miss his stinky butt after all.
*Foolhardy is a fun word. Please note that I enjoy footnotes, so these little guys might pop up often.