Monday, August 5, 2013

We Will Teach and Receive Paychecks


They are dangerous.
And from my observations, they are the source of most (if not all) of the frustration in my life.

I learned about expectations most directly during my first 24 hours in Cambodia. For some people, the "honeymoon stage" portion of culture shock last weeks, even months. For me, it lasted five hours. I landed, I looked around, and I thought, "Uh oh, this is not what I expected."

There is so much about the world that we simply cannot predict.
And our trying only leads to disappointment.

Expectations get in my way when I assume that my husband should act/think/speak/be different than he is. I'm let down. Not because he's done anything inherently wrong, but because I had different expectations than he did.

Expectations get in my way when I assume that it will not rain. And then it does. And it sucks.

Expectations get in my way when someone on Facebook says something ridiculous, I don't get the phone call I was waiting for, or my iPod runs out of battery. Mid-run. Ugh.

My expectations don't always match reality.
And I'd be a whole lot happier if I learned to have low expectations.

I know this because of a study that was done to find the happiest country in the world. The winner: Denmark. Why? Because they have low expectations. They don't expect life to always go their way, a sunny day or a promotion is just a perk!

Heading into this next adventure teaching overseas, I've been thinking a lot about the most reasonable expectations I could have about Korea.

Safe expectations:
-Jeremy and I will move to Korea
-Not everyone will speak English nor produce signage that I can read
-Most things will be foreign to me
-Some things will be familiar
-We will both teach English and receive paychecks

Unsafe expectations:
-Everyone will be nice to me
-I will always feel safe and at home
-Patient people will always be readily available to teach me about Korea
-I will never get swindled out of money
-I will learn Korean in a snap
-My students will love me and be so happy I've come to teach them
-Everything will be awesome. Always.

I understand that that was a strangely abnormal a plethora of definitive terms, and I don't think many of us actually operate that way, however, I know that sometimes I paint this picture of how things should be, and then when they aren't, I struggle to move on.

So, I'm doing some research, learning what I can about Korea, but for the most part, I'm expecting it to be really awful for a few months. I'm expecting culture shock to be rough. For Jeremy and I to argue. To feel lonely. To struggle at school. And to think--at least thrice--"Maybe we should go home."

But in those moments, when everything feels hopeless, I will watch music videos by the boy band and Korean sensation Super Junior and all will be made right.

And you should too.



Carley Brown said...

I enjoyed it! I can see why they're popular, makes me wish I could dance. I'll be praying for safe travels for you!

Bryan H said...

Hi Heather!
I would like to give a suggestion that has worked well for me. You may be one step ahead of me, or not be interested, but just in case....

1. Set up a google voice account (get a google voice number). Last time I checked, it was free.
(Alternatively, if you want to save the phone number you have, you can port it to google for a small fee...there will be no month-to-month fee).

2. Test it while you're still in America. Try to make some phone calls (from the bottom left side of your gmail account).

3. Use it while you're out there. Since you'll be using your american number, it should be free to call home, when you want to connect with someone familiar. You can call their phones directly.

That's it. I hope that helps. I have more advice on making the best of google voice if you're interested....

I'm sure you all will have fun in Korea. I hear it's great....I think it's ok to have some positive general expectation that things will be "good," without being to specific about how... :)

P.S. I highly recommend completing steps 1 and 2 can't really set it up out of country. Of course, if you want some disconnect from America...that's understandable to.

Best wishes!

Heather said...

Thanks, Bryan. I'll definitely look into Google Voice!