There are so many reasons why I love Korea; why I always go back for more
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
I recently prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the Korean Embassy in South Africa on my time as an English teacher in South Korea. You can view the presentation here (scroll down to the end of the blog post for video):
Reasons why I love Korea
When I first went to South Korea in 2011 to teach English as a foreign language, I was still a kid myself. I thought I was fully grown, my head was inflated by all the grandiose knowledge I stuffed in it at Rhodes, but the truth is: I knew nothing (John Snow).
I was still that little angry Afrikaans girl from Calitzdorp who’d only seen the world through books and soapies on SABC.
Korea opened my mind. It showed me a world of knowledge and possibilities that I’d never dreamed of before. It was in Korea, for example, that I met one of the great writers of our time, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, as well as the revolutionary Korean poet, Kim Chi Ha. It was so weird to think that both these elderly men had served a long period of time in prison for their writing – and survived.
Read the story here:
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai
And of course, I couldn’t live in Korea and not let the experience change me. I’d like to think that Korea softened my edges, made me wiser, more trusting, and more open to new experiences. Korea certainly was good for me. In two years, I managed to pay off my NSFAS student debt. I could send money home regularly, and I got to travel to so many countries: cities and islands around Korea, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
One day, I lost my wallet on a bus and an old lady helped to return it to me. Read the story:
It was of course in Korea where I first started this blog dedicated to words, books and travel. It started off as “Word Craft” but after a while I renamed it “Reviews on a Train” because I love reading in transit. One of the things I miss most about Korea is the public transport system; I used to love getting on a bus or a train bound for anywhere, and reading on the road.
Another beautiful thing about Korea, is how much the people value books and reading:
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
― Lao Tzu
I loved the seasons. All of them; from sultry spring to simmering summer; melancholic autumn to biting winter. Each season gave me feelings of utmost happiness for different reasons. But my favourite was always autumn:
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
Teaching allowed me to express my creativity in the most unexpected ways. We did the most amazing things sometimes, like making ice cream in ziploc bags, having an Adventure Time camp, or creating an online magazine (high school).
Read these stories here:
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
― Jack Kerouac
The video below is a slideshow of pictures of my time in Korea. I hope it shows why I love Korea, and why I’ll always go back. Korea is a part of me now and forever.
Reasons why I love Korea: 4 seasons video