Life as an Expat, Living in Korea

Too Short for Korea

Too ShortAs a 6’2″ waygook, I have never experienced the problem implied by the title of this post. In fact, it’s usually the exact opposite for me. Every day I exit buses with extra care and walk under umbrellas at local markets like Quasimodo. Koreans, young and old, marvel unabashedly at my towering presence.

Yet somehow, despite a constant self-awareness of my height, these days I’m feeling a bit…short. You see, in the military, to be or feel “short” actually has nothing to do with how tall a person is. Instead, it means that one’s contract or tour of duty is coming to an end; and that’s precisely where I’m at with my EPIK journey.

With just 51 days to go until I complete my contract, things are quickly wrapping up. In a few weeks, final exams will have come and gone, and summer English camp will be underway. I also have a couple of weekend trips planned in July and August, so the number of free Saturdays and Sundays I have left is dwindling. And what’s more, the time between now and August 15th is sure to fly by due to all the logistics I have to sort out in order to leave Korea: canceling my phone, transferring money back home, paying final gas/electric bills, sorting out what I will or won’t keep from my apartment, etc.

The end is in sight, and I can sense it; which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s great because it reminds me to make the most of the time that I have left here, and to really appreciate the sights and people around me.  But at the same time, I feel like sometimes I have to work extra hard to stay motivated and enthusiastic. Some days I feel “too short” to lesson plan or make a new power point game; there are times when I feel “too short” to study Korean or try a new food; and lately I’ve been “too short” to write even the briefest blog post, mostly because I’m a bit more excited about starting the next chapter of my life than finishing the final pages of this current one. Most of the time I’m able to power through, though, and I put forth my best effort. But other times, I’ll admit it, I revert to the comforting, distracting arms of Facebook, Pinterest, or Netflix.

So that’s where I’m at. The countdown has begun, and I can feel myself shrinking a little bit more with each “X” that I mark on the calendar. But I’m still trying to stand as tall as possible, and not totally wish away the last two months of what has been an amazing experience, because I know one day I’ll look back on this time in my life and wish I could revisit it.





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