- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hello, I'm Amanda and I blog over at Living in Another Language. I am super jealous of Laurie's trip to New York and am with her in spirit! I was elated when she asked me to take over her blog for today.
Ok, first a little about me. My husband and I currently live in South Korea teaching ESL. We've been here for a year and a half now and love it. However, if you would have asked me two- three years ago where I saw myself in the next few years, you wouldn't have heard Korea or teaching come out of my mouth. God has a funny way of changing things.
Living abroad: It sounds so exotic, so foreign, so full of life. Don't get me wrong, it is all those things, but it is a little bit more as well. Today I'll be discussing some pro's and (believe it or not) con's of living overseas.
Pro- Living abroad is a constant learning experience. Whether it's offending an entire restaurant for blowing my nose (quietly) at my table, or trying to decipher the cryptic code some would call the Korean language, I can't help but learn something new every day. Even after being here for more than a year, I'm amazed at how much I feel like a 'newbie.'
Con-It's sacrificial. I've sacrificed the time I could have had with my family to come here. I've sacrificed seeing friends get married, babies coming into this world, and funerals. Sometimes I wonder, 'why am I even here?' But then I'm reminded of the opportunity that was given to us in a time we needed it most.
Pro- I get to meet and make friends with people from all over the world I wouldn't normally meet on a daily basis in America. I now have really good friends in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France, and the UK because of living in Korea. :) I couldn't think of a more wonderful thing.
Con- 70% of what I say gets lost in the language barrier. I'm finding this annoyance more and more prevalent as the months go by. The first year I was more than happy to live in my little bubble, content with not having a clue as to what was going on around me. Then I started to recognize words. Now I can clearly distinguish when someone is talking about me, and it drives me NUTS! I'd love to know what was being said. Or maybe it's best that I don't know?
Pro- Everywhere we go is a place we've never been before. Whether it's restaurants, market places, festivals, towns, cities, or countries, we find SO MUCH 'new' here! The way of life is so different even between two regions. The people may love foreigners in one and flat out hate us in another. Yikes! I still often walk around like a little girl in wide eyed wonder as I live in a land so unfamiliar to my own.
Con- It's a lot harder to find the necessary items like clothing or makeup. Being 5'8' tall with a husband of 6'4" we might as well forget finding clothes. Luckily I have a smaller frame so I can find plenty of shirts that fit. Pants, most skirts, and dresses are out of the question. Shoes? I'm pretty sure Korean sizes pretty much stop at a size 8 (American). My size 9 feet have never felt more gigantic. It would be like trying to find a size 13 or 14 in the States. They have them but not everywhere.
Makeup is also an issue. I don't know about you but I'm not all for the skin bleaching process. I'm a genuine American girl who loves the sun and a good tan. Yet somehow my skin appears to be getting whiter since being in Korea than it was in sun-deprived Portland, Oregon. What's up with that?!? I'd love to save any ounce of tan I have instead of bleaching the crap out of it. That can't be good.
Pro- Instead of traveling states, I get to travel countries! Pretty much the biggest reason people live abroad? Travel! It's so cheap, and sometimes cheaper to travel to other countries than it would be to travel halfway across the Continental US! It blows my mind. So far in the last year my husband and I have traveled to Korea (obviously), Bali, Vietnam, and Japan. I've even stepped foot in North Korea (thank you DMZ)! We've got a few epic trips lined up for the next year, but all I can say right now is that Borneo, Malaysia is coming in August.
Although there are many good things and bad things to living your life abroad, I am 100% in love with it. I am thankful to have a husband who loves adventure just as much as I do. If you ever get a chance to go somewhere unfamiliar and live for a while? I highly recommend you do.