Feels Like A One-Way Ticket

So many new thoughts have entered my overactive mind in the last few weeks. While I love my adventurous side (and still have a dozen more countries that I would like to see), I have this need to settle down. No, I don’t necessarily mean having kids, getting married, buying a house and investing in things. I mean, I want to find a place that I can call home. This has been all too difficult for the past few years because I’ve had to move apartments, countries and cities every 2-4 months for work or because of a lease that has ended. It’s left me somewhat bitter in that I have to pack up everything I own once again and try to make a new place “homey”. So once again, it’s been a total of 6 weeks in this new place and I have to move out. Just lovely.

When I heard the news 3 weeks ago, I frantically searched real estate websites in Barcelona and even went as far as looking at places in Cape Town and Berlin. I also thought perhaps I’d do a month-long travel through Europe. But moving cities and moving countries means yet again getting used to the area, learning the language and so on and so forth. While that is exciting, I am just not in the place right now.

I’ve been living in Barcelona now for 5 months… and I love it. I am quite sure that I am not convincing myself that I love it because I don’t feel like making a big move. When I think back on the places I have lived throughout my adult life, none feel like home… besides Barcelona. Just my luck though, that places available for March are either utterly shit or too expensive. So, in an attempt to get my ducks in a row, I’ve bought a return ticket to go home for 2 months. In this time, I hope to save my money, come back in May and get a one bedroom place. There’s just one problem with all of this…

Having broken away from life in my home country, people move on – much as the same as I have too. They’re different, I am different. And suddenly, I get the feeling as though they really couldn’t care less that I am coming home. Family and friends probably see me as a burden as I need to crash at their place and rely on them (or public transport) to get around. I hate been reverted back to the state where I rely on others. I’ve recently learned that this is the reason why I love living in a different country. I don’t want nor need the help of others. Additionally, I realised that I don’t really have any one in this entire world that gives a fuck where I am or what I am doing. Sad, but sort of freeing.

So while I will only be spending two months at home, it almost feels wrong. It feels like I’ve bought a one-way ticket to a place where I am “the baby” again, asking for help. I really should be excited but I’m just not.

Out of the Hole.

After almost three weeks, I am finally in a place that I can call ‘home’ … until July 6th.

I moved to England on June, 1st and it’s been one hell of a rollercoaster. It’s the hardest career/life move that I have ever had to do. Some might argue how that could possibly be – in Korea, everything is handed to you. Yes, you don’t understand the language or the culture but you arrive there with a job and an apartment (that your school pays for) and you earn a cushy salary.

The first job I had here lasted all but five days! After that, I had no where to live, no job and really not a lot of money. I moved from city to city to sleep on friend’s couches etc and managed to meet a guy who, apparently, is taking me to Prague or Barcelona in two weeks! Life has been nothing short of exciting.

I am now working as a TEFL teacher for adult Europeans and South Americans and it really is lots of fun. The commuting is a bitch and my feet throb every day, but – it’s all a change. I have interviews coming up for full time teaching in the Fall!

Regardless of circumstances, I have no anxiety and I don’t dread every day. It feels good to be out of that hole. DSC_9175

Fat Girl Back in Korea.

I’ve set up shop, once again, in South Korea. I landed a few days ago and am still jet lagged but extremely grateful for my experience at home as well as feeling super optimistic about the year ahead.

I am back in my old time, Icheon. This is where I grew into the person I am today. Admittedly, it started off on a rough note at the beginning of 2012, but half a year later – I’d experienced a whole lot more of life and with some deep introspection and love for myself, I turned the experience into one of the best of my life. I am happy to be here. It is a small town with some beautiful parks. I have the most amazing apartment and my school seems nice.

I arrived back in Korea 5/6kg lighter than when I left 3 months ago. The airplane seatbelt felt looser and that was great. For the first time since 2012, I am not basing my emotions on my weight and my eating. I am feeling confident and happy in my skin and of course, would love to eat better and continue to lose weight. It’s been so freeing to deal with life without the added hatred of my body.

My visit home made me so much stronger. I really engulfed the value of family and the friends that I know will be with me for life. I was in my place, I had my people and I was surrounded by beauty. Before leaving South Africa, I took a walk on the beach alone after having a final breakfast with my mom. I said a prayer out loud, because there was no one around. I thanked the Lord for my wonderful experience at home and asked him to bless me during my upcoming year back in Korea. I asked Him to make me more aware of the beauty in Korea, even though it is a different kind of beauty to South Africa. The truth is, there is beauty anywhere – it’s just how you perceive it. My closing thoughts were that – coming back to Korea was MY choice. Even though I was utterly bleak to return, I knew that it was what I chose to do.

I think the Lord will bless me this year coupled with the fact that I need to stay positive and see the best in the world.

 

All On My Own.

Today is weigh day (Weight Watchers) and after a week that was slightly different to the rest (more bread, more red meat and just in general a different eating schedule), I was afraid I would put on weight. I instead stayed the same. I was quite pleased, seeing as I had already lost 6.2kg in the last month. This upcoming week is school holidays (again!) and that means more changes in routine.

I’ve started my second teaching practical and it happens to be at my old High School. I seem to be more and more disappointed as the teachers really don’t want any part of student teaching (the shadowing, teaching of their classes). I feel like a big bother to my “mentor” and the faculty in general. My previous school was so accommodating it almost puts this school to shame. I’m doing my bare minimum and I’m leaving early, because they’ve scheduled only 2 observations a day for me. I want to have as little contact with this mentor as possible because she is unfriendly and does not want to engage with me at all – even though she is only a year older than me and we went to the same school.

In general, though – I still feel great. Weekends spent at home are wonderful. I spent three nights in a row going down to the beach to see the sunset which is breathtaking every night (see my previous post for photos). I’ve been offered a job in Korea and I’ll be going back to the small town I lived in in my second year. The place where everything started, this blog included. I experienced many firsts there – my first boyfriend, my first heartache, my first realisation that I needed to change my life, my first gym experience and probably the happiest I’d ever been. That’s not to say the first few months were hell. Prior to all of these experiences, I did not have any friends and I was not well liked. It was a blessing that I become comfortable with myself and enjoy my own company. I am my own best friend. Going back there does not scare me. It excites me. I realised, being in the big city for the last year, that my heart belongs in a small city. I thrived there, and I only associate good things with that place.

I’ve started reading The Gift of Imperfection, and it’s probably also the kind of literature I need in my life. The author, Brene Brown, is also a reason why I changed my life – after watching The Power of Vulnerability on TED Talks. I remember reading at least 10 pages a day of an inspirational book before. It helped me stay motivated. I’ve also been writing a lot more since I have been home.

Two nights ago, I lay in bed, said a prayer and had a thought that I had not had since 2012 when I dated a guy who made me feel like a princess – “The colour is back in my life.” I didn’t think I could achieve that feeling without the love, lust or approval of a man – but here I am, all on my own.

Do People Even Care?

With recent happenings, my biggest concern has not been my weight – which has been a nice change. Yet, living has just seemed like one big blur for the last two weeks.

I am finally reaching the end of my work contract in Korea. I have just under three days left at my current school, and then it’s off to Phuket for my well deserved, long awaited holiday. After that, I have three days in Korea before flying home.

I’ve been torn, worried and stressed about making a decision concerning my next venture. When you add more options to the mix, it’s just a cause for more sleepless nights, on top of the fact that my mind likes to pay attention to small detail, too – what should I pack, what should I throw out, when will I do this and when can I do that. It’s safe to say I am not functioning optimally at the moment, but unlike those scenarios where people try make you feel better by saying “everything will be OK” – everything WILL be OK.

As mentioned, I’ve thrown in some new options into the mix for a new job starting in May/June. I’ve done the Korea thing for three years now, and I am super comfortable and happy living in this country – but of course, I feel like coming back for a fourth year would mean people think “yeah, ok she’s just running away.” etc. I know I shouldn’t really care what they think.

I am finishing my teaching degree this year. Finally. After three years (this being my third), I can finally graduate. I have now made the time to go home for three months, which I was never able to do while working under contract here. I will be home until the very end of May, and thus – I have been job hunting for a new TEFL/TESL position for then.

I was offered a job in Bali and I must say that has taken up the most of my precious little head’s time. Bali sounds like a dream, and wide open spaces and beaches is exactly what my soul craves (coming from Cape Town), but as I researched more, read over the contract, cost of living, benefits, work hours and just general living conditions – it just doesn’t seem like the place for me to be given that I have not saved that much money. The salary is not glorious, in fact, it makes me worry I’d even make it month to month – especially after living such a comfortable life in Korea.

I let out all of my insecurities about going home to Tuesday, while drinking. And it made me feel awful and ashamed, because we were taught to never talk outside of the house. It’s the first time I let out my true feelings, owing to the fact that I felt my family may be the cause of some of my issues.  Although I have not a single bad thing to say about my mother – I also felt like my entire family and friends don’t really care about me coming home, too. A day later, I got an email from my mother telling me how excited she was to see me and all the things she’d planned for us to do. It was just what I needed.

Sunny South Africa and a Cloud of Nerves.

As the time draws nearer for me to leave Korea and head back home, I am starting to stress a lot, feeling badly about myself but also reflect. I know that I’ve felt depressed for over a year and I know why that is – but as the time comes to go home, I feel like those insecurities and bad feelings will just be seen and made worse. After doing some reflecting today, I starting thinking about my family in a way which makes me feel guilty and bad.

I never realised how much my brother affected who I am. After talking to him and him admitting that someone in his life causes him to feel like he has lost his voice – I realised that it was that exact feeling that he gave me. During the big things and the small, he constantly would not respect or listen to me. He belittled me in front of others, and made me feeling frustrated a lot of the time. But, it’s only now – when I have been away from that environment for two years and have done a lot of introspection, that I realise. I fear to go home in fear that I will be that person again. I’ve come out of my shell, gained confidence and a whole lot of life experience but as soon as I am with family again, it’s as though I am the youngest child again, needing permission, needing help, being treated as insignificant and causing me to shrivel up back into my shell.

I Skyped with my friend tonight. I will be staying with her and her family for basically the duration of my stay in South Africa (3 months) – because she lives close to my new work. She and I grew up together and she was able to understand what I was saying about my family and my brother.

I will be going home in two weeks, and although I am excited – yes, I am again, constantly obsessing over my weight and how I will be seen when I see people I haven’t seen in two years or more. I am disappointed in myself, I hate how I look and I am sure they will, too.

I Know Better.

Yes, I have failed myself again. I get into beast mode and it’s like temporary insanity with food and sleeping. It used to be less and far spread, but now it’s as if 80% of my life is spent this way. I’m having trouble sleeping at night because I am leaving Korea in two weeks and my anxiety is through the roof. I worry about what I need to pack, what needs to be thrown out, who will come collect the big stuff and even though I spent Saturday night throwing out all the things I do not want (11 bags full), I still have that sense of anxiety. When do I buy my friends gifts? When do I end my cell phone contract? When do I try find a new job? And on top of that, money – I’ve been told when my money will be deposited, but if it isn’t – then I am royally screwed.

Not only do the trivial things give me anxiety. I am a big fat loser again, who has gained almost all of the 36 pounds she had lost. And now it’s time to get on that plane and see every one after two years, the same blown up girl I was before I left. I feel ashamed, and I feel disgusting and ugly in all my clothes. Yes, I dread all of this.

I know I haven’t done any writing in a while. I just haven’t had the energy to do it. My life is dormant at work and at home. I spent three days out of seven. drinking, about two weeks ago. I had two one night stands, and I eat McDonalds just about every evening. I hate the person I am simply because I know better.