Well, as some of you may have heard, I am NOT staying in Korea next year. I didn't resign the contract with my school. And many people assume I will come back to Texas, but first I'm going to Germany to try to find a job. And I will tell you why I decided to go to Germany from here. I'll just pretend you asked the question I get all the time, "Why do you want to go to Germany?"
The real reason is ... German guys are cute.
In all seriousness, I had planned to stay in Korea for another year. I had planned to stay until all my student loan debt was paid off (half is gone, btw). So I wasn't really looking around or anything, but one weekend I went to Jinju in southern South Korea to visit a friend there (see older post). While I was there I had a really great time and met some really great people, and even though I only stayed a weekend it felt comfortable, like I had lived there for years and knew those people my whole life.
On the bus back to Seoul, I remember thinking wistfully, "Wow, I didn't even know about that place until I went, but it felt like home. And the place I'm at now doesn't feel like that at all." I realized there was this whole other part of Korea that I could live in and experience, and that also meant there were other schools that I could work at. So the first step in my reasoning was that I wanted to find a different school at least, to find a more comfortable environment.
I decided not to resign my school's contract in early April. By April 15th I needed to turn in travel plans to the school's financial secretary. Around that time was the height of North Korea on steriods, so people at home were worried about my safety, and the more I thought about staying in Korea, the more I realized I was ready to move on (much to the pleasure of the parents).
I get one free plane ticket. I can use it to go to Texas, but then I'd have to travel from there to Germany and that'd be too expensive. So I decided to go where I've been wanting to go for at least 6 years now.
The logical explanation for my desire for Germany is that I met a girl in high school who was from there and we formed a friendship and had a blast together before she left. After that we stayed in touch, and in 2007 I was able to go on a tour of Europe for a month, and at the end of that month I stayed with her in Hennef, Germany for 3 weeks. I didn't know any of the language at that time, but it was still a blast.
Soon after my return to Texas, I had to choose a foreign language to learn for my liberal arts degree. I chose German and spent 2 years learning it. When I graduated college, I spent time trying find ways to go to Germany for a short work program or something, but I was broke and had no job experience besides retail, so it wasn't an ideal time.
After getting teacher certified, I got the job in Korea and so I put Germany on the backburner in my mind and heart. But it's been there for years now, an aching desire to merge into that culture and experience it fully, language and all. I've never been fluent in a foreign language, and to finally become bilingual is a challenge I find irresistable. I know the German culture isn't perfect, but what culture is? Each country has its strengths and weaknesses, and each culture has strengths and weaknesses, like a person. You can't explain logically why you love someone because everyone has faults. It's just one of those things.
I'll be heading out of Korea in late June. If you happen have connections in Germany feel free to let me know. :)