Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog-day Cicada. It's August and I'm back!

I've arrived in Korea from the U.S. for the second time. This time, though, there was no waiting for an unknown person to pick me up and take me to an unknown destination. There was no fear that, once in the van, the non-English speaking driver might drop me off at my school rather than a much desired resting place. There was no head spinning during an 11pm shopping trip to gather the basics- TP, E-Marts chicken on a stick, cleaning supplies, and pillows. There was no realizing I purchased paper towels and then also squirting water from the bidet straight onto the kitchen floor as a results of not knowing the Korean on the buttons.

This year around I know what I am getting into and so, for the most part, I know what to expect. Then why after arriving do I feel so similar to how I felt upon my first arrival? Everything- the lights, the scents, the scenery- all take me back to my first day in Korea rather than the day before leaving for vacation. I have a hunch it's because I'm back to sensing things with a clear and rested head instead of one clouded with frustrations. In this state, I'm ready for anything.

It may also be that I am embarking on the second year recognizing that it will be very different from the last.
Many good friends have left/are leaving for new places, I'll be trying new things, exploring news places, and experiencing things that, at the moment, I cannot foresee. To top it off, I'll be moving to a new apartment 5 floors up. It's obviously not far, but it means re-settling and making it my own. These things make me both nervous and excited, but in a good way as I don't want it to be the same year, but a different one in the same country.

Off the top of my head, a couple goals for the next year:
-Practice Korean regularly
-Brush my teeth after lunch regularly so that my co-workers don't think I'm gross
-I'll need to find some new friends
-Spot a cicada/mae-mi (매미) because their sounds of electricity come from every tree of the city (including those outside my office window where I currently sit) yet I cannot see them and it's very frustrating. I'd be nice, it's just that I want to put a face to the noises and also see how big they are. I've seen pictures of giants and then minis and wonder what they are like here in Korea. I'd sort of like them to be of the smaller sorts...just in case one jumps to my head one of these days.

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