Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Change of Plans...

So, this is it. The last day I'll be in Korea is today/tomorrow. Why? Well, it has been a whirlwind week. As many of you know by now, I've been planning to head back to graduate school since I want to get an advance degree in archaeology, which will lead into a PhD in Landscape Archaeology. I applied to the long-distance MA program at the University of Leciester during the Summer of 2013, but due to a change in jobs, I couldn't pay for the tuition without loans. I deferred my enrollment for nearly a year, then I decided: life is too short. I applied for their campus based program and got my letter of acceptance last month. But I'm in a unique situation, living in a foreign country and needing to request for a student visa in the UK. For many complicated reasons, it's best for me to be in my home country for visa preparations, so that means I'll be staying in America while Mr. IT Guy heads back to Korea at the end of our holiday stay.

I had less than six days to prepare for this moment, and it has been bittersweet. Living in Korea has been difficult, and I've gone through several adjustment periods. Some days, I'm happy to live in a big city where I can get pretty much anywhere I want with a cheap subway ticket (like, $1 to travel anywhere I want in Seoul!), and it's nice getting inexpensive, high quality healthcare which is extremely accessible. On other days, I'm filled with a sorrow because I can't do many of the things I used to do back in the States, like getting a cheap, but delicious loaf of artisan bread, buying clothes which fit, and having access to inexpensive gyms so I can train martial arts. I've been feeling a little melancholy this week since I'm basically moving out.

With the backdrop of Christmas, our mood is at odds with the holiday cheer. We've been looking forward to this holiday since September, and now that it is nearly upon us, we feel a little sad. I've never been more than a week apart from Mr. IT Guy, and a year and a half is quite a long time to be apart from him. And when he does come back from our holiday, he'll be walking into an empty, Jen-free apartment. The most maddening part for him is coming back and needing to finish packing up my stuff to send home. It feels strange. Once we get home and are with family, these feelings will pass. The holiday will boost our spirits. The social interaction with our old friends will improve our moods. And a year and a half apart can be made easier with vacation visits, Skype, and every day humdrum musings. That's not so bad, especially since it helps me achieve the dream I've had since I was 4: to be Indiana Jones, but the girl version.

And what will happen with Expertly Dyed? Well, I hope to be in full-swing, at least until I head to school, then we'll see. I'm even planning to head to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival in Crystal Lake this summer. I'm packing up everything, fiber, carders, wheel, the works--and you'll see more videos and blogs in the coming months too. Even stuff about dyeing! I'll maybe even get drop spindles into the shop now! Everything for ED will be easier in the States than in Korea, so I hope to polish off the list of videos you have all requested from me. Dyed top and batts will come to the shop regularly, so you always have something wonderful to choose from. It'll be great, and I'll be able to save extra money for grad school.

So, until I come back to Korea, or if I do, farewell. You provided such an important, invaluable lesson about life, and I think I can carve out a place for me nearly anywhere our jobs take us. Living abroad isn't easy, but I'm glad I did it...and I'm happy to do it again. Thank you to everyone who has helped me make Korea a little more bearable, and to those who have given me advice to gain some semblance of sanity while I worked through the various coping mechanisms of the result of culture shock.