Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Bravery

Stop calling me "brave." Really. I'm not.

Many people, upon hearing that I am going off to South Korea by myself, without knowing anyone (something my extended family seems to be worried about), I hear that I am "so brave!" Well, if you know me, and my history, you'd really see that this choice to go and teach English abroad has nothing to do with bravery, but within my nature.

You see, I am a child of immigrants. My parents and I came over from Finland 20 years ago (21 this August). Wanting to keep up my Finnish language skills (which we have spoken at home always), they would send me to Finland every summer to see my extended family starting at the age of eight. This went on until I was about 15, when I "studied abroad" there for a year, staying with my uncle (which is a whole story in and of itself, but I digress). My grandparents have seemed to be oh-so-grateful that I seem to be the only one in my family who goes to Finland to visit every year (usually summers, but this year I ended up going in January as I have mentioned before).

Well? What do you expect? This has been hard-wired in me ever since I was a very little girl. Every summer-sent to Finland. I mean, is that so hard to understand? It has nothing to do with me. It's just the way it's "always been."

When I started college, my father took a job in China and I have been to China several times, including a semester during which I studied Chinese. Asia seems to be my new frontier, so to speak. I fell in love with Asia since I have been there, and have many Asian friends.

Therefore, taking in my past of traveling, and my current love of Asia, is it so hard to rationalize that I put the two together...while getting paid for it (a definate bonus)? The idea isn't so hard to figure out, at least to my knowledge. It may be more difficult for those who have not had the same experiences as I have. (not that I meant that in a boasting way at all!!!!) Since I have no outstanding talent in anything, what else would I do?

So to say that I'm "brave" for doing this crazy Asian adventure, keep in mind my past history, it's really not so "brave" at all. It makes sense. In fact, I'm absolutely terrified. I get scared at every major juncture in my life, such as: starting high school, "studying abroad" to Finland, starting college, and now this. I don't deal with transitions well. It's just a fact of my life. I have often been very "self-aware" of where some of these issues come from, but this one I'm just not so sure or at least I haven't figured it out yet. I am being shaken to my core at this major life change. I've spent most of today in a semi-panicked mode because I realized that I only have a week left here in the States, with my family and friends (and dogs). I've pondered and worried about every possible scenario that may happen while I'm gone (like what if something happens to my dog, what if something happens to me, what if something happens to my mom etc.??) It is only by the Grace of God that I am sitting here somewhat sane right now.

This is perhaps the biggest change of my life. Though I've always had the feeling that this will be a good thing for me. That something good is waiting for me out there (I'm hoping it's a future life partner, heh, but I digress). I'm taking it a day at a time. Trying to think positive. Trying to lean on God's support, since I certainly can't do it alone.

Am I "brave?" Absolutely not. I am a terrified wreck. Does this mean I'm chickening out? No. Way. I'm in it all the way, and I think it'll be a blast (once I stop worrying about it).

I won't be translating this into Finnish. Sorry Grandma.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's official!

So now it's official. I will be in South Korea on March 1st (less than two weeks from now!). I will go and get my visa tomorrow, and now I have to worry about packing! I have no idea what to pack, but I'll figure something out!

I also have a hard time realizing that this is a long-term deal (well, at least a year). I have a feeling that this is just a short visit and I'll be back. I guess it will just take some time to come to terms with. I have a feeling that this will hit me when I'm on the plane over to Korea. We'll see how it goes!

Nyt on virallista. Ne haluaa että olen Etelä Koreassa 1.3. (joka tulee aika pian!) Menen hakemaan viisumin huomenna, ja nyt täytyy huolehti pakkaamisesta! Ei oo aavistustakaan mitä pakkasin, mutta keksin jotakin!

Mulla on myös vaikea ajatella että tämä onkin pitkä-aikainen juttu (No, ainakin vuoden). Mulla on semmonen tunne että tämä on lyhyt-aikainen juttu, ja tulen pian takaisin. Kai se kestää vähän aikaa tottuu siihen ideaan. Mulla on semmonen tunne myös että sehän iskee muhun kunnes olen lentokoneessa. Katsotaan miten menee!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Got my Contract!/Sain Kontraktin!

Short Post today!

I got my contract today! Now it's real! It seems pretty straight forward, just gotta sign it! Now I have to figure out my Visa situation...hmm...

Lyhyt Postaus Tänään!

Sain kontraktin tänään! Nyt on totta! Kontrakti vaikkuttaa ihan selvältä, tarvitsen vain alekirjoittaa sen! Nyt täytyy keksii miten minun viisumi menee...hmm...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hello all!

Sorry I kind of went silent after I left for Finland! I was waiting for official word from Korea and was really worried for a moment...but more on that later.

My trip to Finland was good. It was good to see my family before I leave for Korea, since I don't know when I'll be back there again. I also saw some friends from my time in high school over there, as well as one of my American classmates (from my university's Chinese class, heh), so that was fun!

So Korea.

I had all my paperwork ready when I left for Finland, except my Degree Confirmation Letter. My Letter came, got Apostilled, and the whole packet sent out while I was in Finland (thanks Mom!). I hadn't heard any official word that I would get the job, and I was getting nervous. My advisor (my contact with the company) also gave me some other options, such as private schools or deferring until AUGUST (which was NOT going to happen!). I got word yesterday that the Seoul Ministry of Education (SMOE) approved my application and my Notice of Appointment (NOA) was sent out. (According to Fedex, it should be here tomorrow!!) So it's official: I will be in South Korea on March 1st. It's such a relief to officially have the job, but now I have to figure out my visa situation (which I guess will be explained in my NOA), what to pack, etc. It's starting to sink in, but I won't fully accept it as real until I get my NOA in hand.

I hope that this experience in Korea will be the start of something new. A chance for me to spread my wings and figure life out on my own. That's not to say that I won't miss my mom or anything, but I'm hoping that I can be a single, independent woman and live the best life that I can. :) :)

I'm just a little bit excited, heh...

I'll let you know how everything goes in this final planning stage. They've advised me not to book my flights until I have my visa, because if my flight is late, then I won't get a penalty (or something of that sort). I can't wait!!


Anteeksi etten kirjoittanut mitään sen jälkeen kuin lähdin Suomeen! Minä en ollut varma oliko mulla se työpaikka tai ei... oli pikkasen huolissaan, mutta ennemmän siitä myöhemmin.

Suomi oli ihan kivaa. Olipa kiva nähdä sukulaisia vielä kerran ennen kuin lähden Koreaan. Näin myös muutaman kaveria, yksi lukiosta suomessa kunnes opiskelin siellä, ja myös yhden Amerikkalainen yliopisto luokka toveri minun kiinankielen tunnilta. Oli ihan hauskaa.

Niin Korea.

Ennen kuin lähdin Suomeen, mulla oli kaikki paperihommat hoidettu, paitsi minun "degree confirmation" kirje (siis se kirje joka selitti että onkin yliopistosta valmistunut). Kuin olin Suomessa, kirje tuli, sain Apostillen, ja koko paketti oli lähetty (kiitos Mami!!). En ollut kuulut mitään pitkään aikaan, ja tuli vähän pelko että onkohan sitä paikka olemassa vai ei. Minun advisori (minun kontakti ihminen siellä firmalla) rupes antaa minulle muita vaihtoehtoja, niinkuin privaatti koulut ja myös että odottaisi ELOKUUHUN. (kiitos, EI.) Sain tietoa eilen että Seoulin Yleiskoulun Ministeriö (SMOE englanniksi) hyväksyi minun hakemuksen ja lähetti minun NOA (englannkisi, siis se paperi joka selittää mitä nyt tapahatuu). Ja FEDEX:in mukaan, se tulee huomenna! Elikä nyt on virallista:
Olen Koreassa 1.3.

Sehän autta jo paljon että tiedän on mulla onkin se työpaikka, mutta nyt tarvin huolehti visasta, mitä kannata pakata, jne. Se rupee tuntuu että tämä on nyt todellista, mutta en täysin usko ennen kuin mulla on se NOA paperi kädessä.

Toivon että tämä Korea reissu tuo jotain hyvää minulle. Että voin nyt kokeilla olla aikuinen, ja jatkaa tästä eteenpäin omilla ehdoilla. En sano etten tulee koti ikävä, mutta toivottavasti tästä on jotain hyvää.

Jännittää kyllä vähän...heh.

Ilmoitan miten tämä loppu vaihe menee. Sain myös tieto etten kannata varata lentoliput ennen kuin saan visuumi käteen, etten tule mitään "rangaistuksia" myöhäistä lennoista. En jaksa odottaa!!