Aloha/Annyeong/Yo — all mean “hello” and possibly “goodbye” in Hawaiian, Korean and American languages. I may be saying those words soon.
I’m waiting to hear back from a few overseas teaching jobs. One might start in a week, another over the summer and a couple of gigs don’t have a clue when they’ll need me. Honestly, I don’t really remember applying for some of them and am not totally sure I want to work overseas again. There’s a lot more to consider than just buying a new Lonely Planet travel guide. If you missed my last two weeks’ columns check them out online.
I still need an assload of answers:
Will I need to learn the metric system and write day/month/year instead of month/day/year? Yes, that goes without saying, dumbass. OK, well, how about which side of the street do people drive on?
Will 10-hour days be the norm, or can I head home after two three-hour classes? While at work, do I need to work the entire time, or can I goof off writing my column? I might get only one week of vacation or an entire season to explore my new continent?
What’s my new apartment going to be like? In Seoul, while sitting on my bed, I could open my front door, light my stove, look in my fridge, turn on my bedside lamp and Febreeze my bathroom. What size bed will I sleep on? Will I even get a bed? Hopefully, I can invite friends (and friends who are girls) over, but maybe I’ll get in trouble just for spitting my toothpaste into the kitchen sink.
Will a smile and a wave and get me a new list of buddies? I hope I don’t need to put a Craigslist ad for somebody to talk to — not that I’ve never done that.
Can I date in my new home? Will Americans be considered too sexually conservative and boring or too vile and slutty?
Cafes might be cool places to work, read and have a nice cup of coffee, or they could be havens for old men to see who can yell the loudest. Do I go to the bar for one local beer and call it a night, or do I get so shitfaced my boss forces me to use a whole bottle of eyedrops? Can I even find booze — or that stuff your hippie parents smoked back in the day?
Will my future employers believe that I actually did work overseas or that I just partied with funny talkers? I lived in Korea and worked as a professor for five years, but now I’m working as a glorified spellchecker in the U.S.
Most of all, can I survive being away from my friends and family for another 365 days? Or more? I’m going to miss a lot of stuff: weddings, funerals, parties, births, games, concerts, assassinations and new additions to the zoo. Will I allow myself to be apart from everything I know? Again?