The moment I enter another friend’s apartment in Korea is usually a time of burning, roiling jealousy. The apartments my friends live in seem cavernous, nearly monstrous–hulking, beyond-spacious grand cathedrals. I look around at the enormous amount of free space, the storage, the kitchen counters, the presence of more than one room, and I think you could fit a whole family in there. An extended one, with lots of live-in uncles and aunts and in-laws and third cousins. Some of their friends and well-wishers, too. Maybe a few transients. And then I think of my apartment and I begin to plot this friend’s destruction.
To redouble the difficulties of moving to a foreign country, the onslaught of my big dumb adventure in Korea coincided with the first time I lived away from home and the first real Big Boy job I had ever had. As though to compound and concrete up my developing, nascent sense of grown-upedness, I would move around the world on my own and begin working full-time all at once. The teaching, at least, I had done before. Moving to a different culture, I felt ready for, at least in-as-much as one can feel ready to abandon everything your brain accepts as a normal way of life. The weirdest part has probably been adjusting to living on my own.
Korea and Me – a series of photo essays detailing the particulars of the waygook in Korea. These, really, are to show you the individual examples of the general truths for foreign English teachers. My apartment, my school, the neighbourhood, the typical restaurant… I will photograph them endlessly and then write a big slew of words telling you about them. It seems fitting I should start with the apartment.