Sunday, August 18, 2013

What They Don't Tell You About Adventure

Saying "goodbye" at 5am
That's 49.5 pounds suckahs
Our Panda Express fortune

Look at these goobers
Daejin University
We made it to Korea, folks. 
It's way over here by China.
It's a freaking long flight too. 

I write from our dorm room at Daejin University where we'll be living for the next week during orientation for all of the GETs (guest English teachers) who have come here with EPIK, a government program that places native-English teachers in Korean public schools. 

We arrived late Sunday night in Seoul in a zombie-like state, trying to sort out how to find our bags and our shuttle, feeling queasy and thirsty and lost. But we made it. Whew!

Last night was not a good one for rest. We squished ourselves into a twin-size bed and gave ourselves a little pep-talk before going to bed: "We're in Korea. It's gonna be all right. One step at a time." I fell asleep with everything on my mind and I woke up an hour later feeling like someone or something was sitting on my chest. Hard to breathe. Hard to stay calm. Hard to feel well. I threw up from traveling nausea and jet lag. I paced. I scavenged for food. Eventually I woke Jeremy and had a small panic attack in his arms. 

That something sitting on my chest was fear. 
Fear that I can't do this.
Fear that we've made a huge mistake.
Fear that I haven't changed.
Fear that I just can't handle world travel.
Fear that something awful will happen to those we love at home.
Fear that history will repeat itself. 

I didn't sleep more than an hour the rest of the night. To keep my mind from flitting from fear to fear I focused on a balloon filling and deflating, filling and deflating with every inhale and exhale. I can't express to you how hard it was to even stay on that one thought without drifting back to fear. So it's fair to say that our first twelve hours here have been a bit rough. A bit scary. A bit lonely. 

People told me this was such a great adventure. That they were jealous. That they'd be reading a long and wishing they were me. 

Ya know what no one tells you about adventure? Rarely does it feel "adventurous."

Mostly it just feels scary. And out-of-place. And unsure. And terrifying. 
With about 5% of exhilaration thrown in. 
And that's what we take pictures of. 
The exhilarating parts that only make up a small portion of the story. 

So, I guess what I'm getting at is this:
-I am grateful for this opportunity to travel in Korea.
-But please don't assume that we are constantly having the time of our lives.
-We need prayer now more than ever.

This morning, the sun rose on this small valley. We looked out our window at the hillside and the trees and took-in the parts of campus we missed in the previous evenings half-alive state. We talked. We prayed. We agreed that this is hard. 

We shuffled our way to breakfast and ate rice, kimchi (more on that as soon as I can figure out how to post the video!), and cornflakes surrounded by one hundred other EPIK teachers. We chatted. We met people from San Diego, the "middle of Oregon", Liverpool, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, and Australia. We felt a little better just to have people to talk to. 

We're finding our way.
One moment at a time. 


Vickie said...

We are praying for some Peace for you both. You are capable and strong but it is easy to forget.
It will get easier!

KendraKay at said...

Wishing you some sweet dreams soon and that feeling of "I'm okay right now," right before you drift off. Hang in there until it happens and know I'll be asking for that every time I'm stopped in traffic. (I'm not very patient, so I decided that's my new prayer time!)

Ashley Barber said...

You're far away but not forgotten, dear sister and brother-in-law. I'm looking forward to that kimchi video!

LaVonne Engelkemier said...

What a great adventure you are both taking. It may be challenging at times but with the Lord beside you all things are possible. Looking forward to reading more of your journey

LaVonne Engelkemier said...

What a great adventure you two are starting. With the Lord by your side all things are possible. Looking forward to hearing more of you journey

Carley Brown said...

Always appreciate your honesty and how you so eloquently put things into perspective. Not all adventure is rainbows and sunshine...will be praying for you. Glad you have a loyal supportive husband to make the journey even better.

Bryan H said...

Best wishes!

David Muth said...

Look at the bright side, Korea is a more developed country than Cambodia. The standard of living should be better. Plus(a big plus, I guess), you have your husband with you. :D
You will be in my prayers. God bless.