I’ve been home for almost three weeks now, and while life back home has been awesome, it’s also not quite what I had expected. Originally, I expected to have a hard time adjusting back into the American lifestyle and constantly experiencing reverse culture shock, but as it turns out, adjusting hasn’t been that difficult at all. The ease of settling in probably has to do with my five-day visit back in January; it’s like those five days broke me in and helped me figure out what to expect once I returned for good. I’m still trying to get used to certain things, like remembering tax and tip, the huge food portions, and not speaking to random people in Korean, but for the most part, I feel like I’ve adjusted quite well so far.
Chris and I are loving the fact that we’re living together and seeing each other every day: we’ve been spending a lot of quality time together, as well as with our friends and families. We especially love that we are engaged. (!!!!!) We haven’t done a lot of wedding planning yet, but we do know that we want to tie the knot sometime in early October, and we want to have a small, simple, inexpensive wedding ceremony and reception.
Before I came home, I wrote about my fear of not having anything in common with my close friends anymore, and feeling like they might be too busy for me with their new lives. As it turns out, that hasn’t been the case at all. My friends here have busy lives, but I feel like they’re still making time to hang out with me. And when we do hang out, it feels like I never left– like we’re picking up right where we left off with ease. I can’t express enough how happy and relieved this makes me.
As for work, I’m working at the same restaurant I worked at right before I left. Even though I’m not thrilled to be working in a restaurant again and I miss teaching, the money is good and the work is easy. In fact, getting back into serving again after a year off was surprisingly easy itself, like riding a bike. Right now, I’m working four nights a week, but once I start substitute teaching in May, I’ll probably cut down to 2-3 a week so I can focus on subbing.
Along with working and catching up with friends and family, I’m in the process of going back to school to get my teaching credential. I recently took the California Basic Education Skills Test and am now preparing to take the California Subject Examination Test (two tests I need to pass before applying), and soon I’ll start working on obtaining official transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. My plan is to apply in August, and if I get accepted, I’ll start next January and be done in a year. Until then, I plan on subbing, tutoring, and volunteering in classrooms to get more experience to add to my resume.
It’s crazy to think I’ve been home for barely three weeks; it seems like so much longer because of how much has happened since I’ve been back. Sometimes, it feels like I never left– like Korea was just a dream. But it wasn’t, and I do miss it, but not as much as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my students, my job, my friends, K-Pop, and spicy Korean food. However, being home is really, really nice, and I’m enjoying every second of it too much to feel sad about Korea. At least for now.