The Final Week in America: Thoughts on the End

I’m not entirely sure how many posts will occur this week, but here’s a rough update of my affairs.

My visa is in the hands of the Korean Consulate. After all the problems I encountered with USPS, I ended up using UPS instead. It was delivered right on time and I had computer tracking that allowed me to keep track of the document every single step of the way. With the documents is a similar return envelop for overnighting the visa back to me. From my experiences so far, I recommend anyone else attempting to teach English in Korea to suck it up and do all the paperwork in person. Naturally, this may not be practical, and I’m proving you can do it by mail, but you might end up tearing your hair out. You can save yourself from the heartburn. On the bright side, USPS did refund my money since the package didn’t arrive on time. So that’s a small win.

By my estimation, I should have my visa on Wednesday (the soonest scenario), Friday (the latest scenario) or even a week from today (the ‘why is it taking so long, why does God hate me?’ scenario). If things go well, I’ll be on a plane on Saturday.

For some more of my thoughts, many of which are fairly rambling and pointless, you can continue after the break.

Additionally, I’ve seemingly crippled my body with my diet. Since September, 2011, I worked at a Japanese restaurant in Knoxville (called Anaba, check it out if you live in this area), only quitting on January 31st. During this time, I ate roughly one meal a day at Anaba, since it was so convenient and my employee discount made it cost less than fast food (most of the time). Now, recently, I was concerned that adapting to a purely Korean diet might be a bit rough in the first week or two since my body wouldn’t be used to processing such foods. A Korean-American friend of mine was sick to his stomach for about a week when he went to visit his grandparents in Korea because of this change. Of course, when I went to Japan in 2006 and again in 2007, I really only felt bad for about a day or so, something that could just as easily be attributed to jet-lag. That being said, since February started, I’ve gone out of my way to eat “American” foods since I know they’ll be harder to find and/or more expensive in Korea.

My body can’t process it.

The first few days I was fine, but around the 8th or 9th my body started rebelling. Eating hamburgers, poutine, potato skins, cheese sticks, potato soup and the like just isn’t working right. I’m having to dash to the bathroom every few hours. I’m not sure if my body is reacting strange because I’m suddenly eating greasy American dishes when I used to mostly eat Japanese food, or if I ate something in particular that gave me something like Montezuma’s Revenge. Somehow, it seems unlikely to me, since I was in Canada and Northern USA, not a developing country.

Honestly, the past couple days I’ve been in a bit of a fog. My bags are roughly 90% packed (I’m currently using the remaining 10%), most of the handful of other items I own are packed away in boxes, and things feel kind of surreal. I’m saying goodbye to a bunch of people I won’t see for a long time. Some of them I’ll never see again.

It’s much more bittersweet than I thought it would be. I currently live in Tennessee, and I don’t like it. It is one of my least favorite places I’ve ever lived. Hell, it ranks pretty low on places I’ve been. I like a lot of the people I’ve met here, and I’ve made some good friends. Outside that, I really dislike living here. I feel more comfortable in a larger city. I can understand why people would like living here, but it sure as hell isn’t for me. Finding gainful employment outside this state has been an all-consuming goal, and finding such employment overseas has been a dream come true. Initially, when people asked me if it would be bittersweet, I kind of laughed it off. I don’t think I’ll miss Tennessee, but these final goodbyes are definitely much more bitter than I thought they’d be. Especially to my family.

I guess that’s most of my current thoughts. My last week is kind of filling up with stuff to do pretty quick. I’ll be gone before I know it.



~ by James on February 13, 2012.

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