Lessons In Korea
"Bravery isn't just fighting off a dragon. Bravery is looking something that intimidates you in the eye and saying, "watch me, i can do this." Let me tell you, the bravest thing I could ever have done being here in Korea was teaching English and struggling with mental health."
Lesson's I've Learned In Korea
I moved to South Korea in January of 2020, right before chaos hit the world with COVID, BLB, and Trump getting kicked out. Before I came to Korea, I honestly thought I had everything and myself figured out. I thought I was this wise person. Then reality hit when I was standing in linnet grab my suitcases from the conveyor belt in South Korea. I didn't realize when I was standing there that I actually realized I didn't know much of anything. Turns out you don't just learn things from books and youtube. Apparently you got to live it.
I thought I did live it though. I lived in Cleveland for almost two years. I thought I knew how to finance and cook and live on my own. Prior to Cleveland, I always lived with someone. Whether it was with my sister, family or friends I was always with someone. But now, Im pretty much on my own and boy did I have to learn to run fast cause, sweety, apparently I was walking the entire time. Here are a few thing I've learned and am continue on learning.
1.Living On My Own
The day I arrived to my apartment I never felt so alone and quite frankly tired. This was the first time I could ever really feel like I can be me in my own safe space. Sure, I always had my own room but I never had my own place where I made all the decisions, that also included bills. I grew up with siblings so thankfully, I knew how to do the basics, like cook, clean, do the laundry pay the bills. But what was new, was living on my own, with my own time. I was the one who was responsible for getting my but out of bed, I was responsible for going grocery shopping, I was the one in charge of my eating....wtf, is this called adulting? But no, seriously, I always thought I was mature for a kid but the moment I had time for just myself in my own space I was like a kid in a candy shop. I didn't know where to start.
So my job only pays me $1,500 a month and having a side job is low key illegal. Like, I can't have any other jobs. So I had to quickly learn how to spend money wisely. Let me tell you, I blew through a few of those first checks on traveling, food and art supplies. I had to learn quickly that that money doesn't really last if Im just throwing it out there. I had to sit down every week and actually write down my budget, what I could or couldn't do.
3.Being Emotional and Mental Health
Okay hear me out! I was never a really emotionally open person before I came to Korea. In fact I was so closed off and cold that you literally had to pry information about how im feeling and what im thinking with an ice pick and a threat. I grew up in a household where we didn't talk things out. How we hashed out our feelings was alone time in the shower. We were only allowed to have five minute showers, lmao.....thats actually not funny at all. I feel like my childhood lacked in warm long showers. When I came to Korea, I promised myself to actually open up and try. It took a lot of time and even brutal strength to open up emotionally with myself and others. For the longest time, I've always run away from my demons and things that scared me. So when all the things I feared followed me to Korea, I realized, if I dont learn to deal with my mental health, Im going to be running from this forever. So, day by day, I'd try to work through my mental struggles, depression, shit and feelings. It wasn't pretty and it still isn't. To be honest, I have so many bad days where I think life is so pointless but it's a step. A year ago I would deny these feelings and hide them, now I'm facing them. And honestly, I feel a bit better. I've started therapy. Ive started confiding with my friends more. I've started trying to mend my relationship with my parents. Baby steps, man. Baby steps.
4. Creating Relationships and Drawing The Line
Part of opening up and trying was making friends. If you don't know me, you'd know I have a lot of trust issues. It's a thing. It took my good friends back in the states years before I really tore down my walls and was vulnerable with them. One of the promises I made to myself was to make friends and trust. But, I didn't know when to put the plug on the trusting bit. I guess I was so excited to try something new that I didn't take baby steps. There is a difference between trusting with a cautious mind and trusting head first off a cliff. Guess which one i went with. I'll give you a hint. The ride down was beautiful but the splat hurt like a bitch. I met a lot of wonderful people here in Korea but I trusted too easily and opened myself to quickly. I felt excited with this new feeling of being open. But over time I realized that I was too trusting. I took a step back with my old self and was like, "Pia, what the hell. These people are not that great of people." And it wasn't until other people around me started to say something before I realized. In my desperate search of finding my new self and having friends, I lost a lot of my dignity, pride and even a bit of self worth. I started becoming this person I didn't want to be around these new people. So, I had to learn to draw lines. I had to learn to stick up for myself and voicing my thoughts. I had to set boundaries with people and myself.
5. Being Brave
I always like adventures. Heck, I was that kid that climbed out the window with bedsheets because my mother grounded me. (side note: I couldn't sit for a week after my mom got her hands on me) I mean, moving to Korea is pretty brave if you ask me, especially if I've never traveled on my own before, but living in a forgone place with no knowledge of anything including the language, it's pretty scary. But I had to quickly see everything as a new adventure. I had to quickly learn that if I want to live life, Im going to have to be brave and go out and do shit. It was so nerve racking going on my first bus ride to a new city by myself. It was so scary having to go grocery shopping alone not knowing how to use the currency. It was so scary walking alone in a park. Everything was new and a bit intimidating. But honestly, I had to learn to not give a shit and to just be brave. Bravery isn't just fighting off a dragon. Bravery is looking something that intimidates you in the eye and saying, "watch me, i can do this." let me tell you, the bravest thing I could ever have done being here in Korea was teaching English and struggling with mental health.
I've learned so much about myself here in Korea, and I wouldn't change it for anything.