Dear blog,

Sorry I’ve been neglecting you so much. I know, I know, you are my Hermes carrying messages back home and promoting my exploits here in Korea. Yes, I know, in twenty years when I am much more tied down and think back to times of wanderlust you will be a testament of inspiration for adventures of yesteryear. It’s just that I lost that camera cord and really wanted to upload photos so that the text wouldn’t stand alone. This last week especially has been really hectic at school as we’ve had two new teachers show up and they’ve been observing me so I’ve had to really put my game face on. That paired with fact that it’s been the last week of the July session and I’ve had an increased classload has given me virtually no free time for blogging at school.

I’ll make it up to you by promising to put this and two other posts up this week. This first one will be the recap of mid-July and Marine Week in which our protagonist ventured out to the Aquarium at COEX with his awesome young linguists protegés the Cheetah class and battled the ocean/elements and made more expat friends from around the world at the Boryoeng Mud Festival.

First off, the aquarium was a complete blast! My kids were in high spirits and I had a delightful time watching them ohhh and ahhh at all the sharks, sea turtles, tropical fish, crocodiles and more. The AC was pumping out a cool flow and the humidity was low. Facilities were very modern and the fact that cost of entry is My aquatic buddies.usually $30 on the weekends made me thankful the school was picking up the bill on this one. Another one of my patented beaming smiles was let loose upon seeing the sea otter exhibit. I DIG SEA OTTERS in a big way. The way they sinuously move in the water makes me envious of a prowess at swimming I will never posses. Their features always seem to be mischievously smiling and mates hold paws when they sleep so that they don’t lose each other out on the open sea. There is no marine animal I would rather be than the carefree sea otter.

Cheetah class humming Under the Sea.

Boreyong was a blast. Our bus left Seoul at 7:30am and Noksapyeong is a good 45 minutes away via subway so we had to leave the apartments by 6:20 to play it safe. I pulled myself out of bed at 5:30 am to make a huge breakfast scramble consisting of 12 eggs, one zuchnni, two yellow onion, 4 Korean chili peppers, 1 orange bell pepper, 1 potato, basil, oregano and some Boulliard’s Louisiana hot sauce and Sriracha Thai chili sauce. A little power breakfast to help with the beginning of the forey. The bus ride was uneventful but I was filled with a lighthearted joy upon leaving Seoul for the first time since arriving.

I loved zoning out on road trips and just soaking up the passing scenery of Washington as a child. This trait is not lost to me as an adult and South Korea’s countryside had a lot to offer. From mist shrouded mountains clad in verdant tones of green fauna unfamiliar to me to terraced agricultural hills and small clusters of skyscrapers indicating small towns (everything is compact here, which I dig since I abhor suburban sprawl). After this panoramic ride of 2 1/2 hours we arrived at Boryeong at around 10:30.

We lucked out and our room was ready so our crew of 6 unloaded backpacks an threw on some trunks in the room. A mini-fridge, small stove, pile of bedding on hardwood floor and separate bathroom was definitely the smallest room I’ve shared with a group this size. After assessing the facilities we headed down to the beach. Our neglect to put any sunscreen on is shown in the peeling skin currently on my shoulders and the pink, new skin showing on my nose. The water was warm and the beach expansive with a chain of islands of varying sized reminding me of the San Juan back home. I dove in and made a cross-stroke beeline for the nearest buoy 50 yards out. At 30 yards I was jarred out of my rhythm by a Korean coast guard member on a jetski waving me back to shore. Guess they’re a little phobic of tourism fallout if some intoxicated waygook (foreigner) drowns during the festivities. Fair enough.

As for the actual mud festival section of the beach we didn’t spend a ton of time. $5 purchased entry to all the events like mud wrestling, mud slides and mud obstacle courses. Unfortunately this was the first day of festivities and the lines were lengthy so the only one we did was a slip and slide style race. I challenged my British buddy and had a glorious victory after a thirtyish foot long slide and scramble to the end. He claimed I had a false start, sore loser…haha. We painted ourselves with the provided cosmetic grade mud to help lessen the intensity of the sun but this proved to be in vain as Monsoon season rain reared it’s head and showered away our protective coating.

As the sun set we grabbed out bottles of cass, took a fortifying shot of Johnny Walker black label (they sell it in 7-11 here…) and changed out of our now filthy, smelling of the sea shorts to go grab some dinner. The bibimbap hit the spot and we meandered down to the beach to meet some Irish friends and their blokes. The opening night fireworks were phenomenal and I was very impressed with not only the size of the arsenal but the variety. Back home we don’t have shells that separate into a multitude of hearts or smiley faces on the horizon. Good times were had by all.

The next day we were tired of sand in our shorts and decided to go to the waterpark by the bus stop. My favorite ride was my first. However, I wasn’t used to the protocol and just thought it worked just like “Wild Waves” the Six Flags water/amusement park back home. I grabbed the bar and propelled myself down the tube. Bad move, here you are supposed to slowly lie down and let them push you to initiate the ride. I smacked my forehead on the top of the entry (good thing I’m thick-headed) but still managed to fly down the tube on the rushing water.

This tube did four consecutive circles (dizziness ensues not helped by blow to the noggin) and then spits you out into a large bowl. If you have ever seen the fundraising device where you put a coin in and the velocity makes it go around and round the bowl before dropping through the hole at the bottom you can picture this ride. I had more momentum than most due to my size and exuberant take off at the top so was spun about 4 times before falling through the hole into the pool at the bottom. Unbeknownst to me there was a life guard with a floatation device at the bottom who helps grab you and escort you to the exit. Makes sense considering the vertigo inducing dizziness of said ride. I however almost freaked out and started swinging when two hands grabbed me under the water, haha.

Mini panic attack and forced leave of the park was averted when I noticed the red lifeguard attire. Upon exiting two lifeguards were waiting questioning my state of health “Are you ok? Are you sure?”. Seems the lifeguard at the top had noticed me hit my head and had radioed her fellow employees bottom-side. I was laughing like a little kid and reassured them my condition was strong.

Many other slides and hijinks ensued and I also was pleasantly surprised to discover the sauna at the top which had around 70 separate water massage stations for your back, legs, shoulders and chest. Pretty savvy concept. The shoulder massage had a very strong flow and felt good to my muscles but extremely harsh on my sunburnt skin. We were all pretty burnt by the time we hopped on the bus back to Seoul. Koreans take extra precaution against sunburn and exposure to elements so the next day at class all my students were pointing and yelling “Red Teacher”!!!

Well blog, I hope this is a good start to making it up to you for not corresponding for some time. Tonight is another going away party in Itaewon for the last of the departing teachers finishing their contracts and leaving for home this Summer. A total of 7 teachers have concluded their time here and left for home since I’ve arrived. It’s been a little surreal just arriving and seeing so many people I’ve just met depart, also a little odd being considered the “veteran” amongst the new hires.

The going away party isn’t for another 7 hours so I think I’m finished with this post, ready to sign out of Facebook, watch one last video on Pitchfork TV and leave the “Interpark Soo” PC Bang (motto: The moment when after many years of hard work and a long voyage you stand in the centre of your room, house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, knowing at last how you got there, and say, I own this.) and go see some of Seoul. I think Boramae park or wandering around the grounds of a buddhist temple seems like the perfect idea right now. Cheers!


Well it was one outstanding weekend to be had! Saturday I actually missed the meet up to go to the Korean War Memorial Museum. I was bogged down in errands. Since I’m going to Mudfest in Boryeong next weekend I wanted to get sunglasses, contact lenses, activate the cell phone and get a hair cut. Mission accomplished on all of these except the cell phone activation.

Me: Annyong Haseyo, could I setup a subscription?

SK clerk: What?!

Me: My cell phone needs to be registered.

SK clerk: Ahhh, not on Sundays.

Me: Uhhh, it’s Saturday…

SK clerk (rolling eyes and looking annoyed): You come here Monday!

Me: Annayong Geyseyo…

Haha, can’t win ’em all I guess. Luckily one of my supervisor is going with me to the store during my afternoon break tomorrow. My haircut looks decent and my kids were flippin out due to me showing up sans glasses. The compliments from a student’s mom that she’d never seen me look so handsome didn’t hurt. I try to stay impartial but it’s hard not to feel biased when she gives me free coffee all the time and is such a savvy flatterer.

Since I missed the trip to the museum I decided to go to Noksapyeong with my coworker from Jersey. We met up with a British friend of his at Craftworks which is a microbrewery in Seoul, these are extremely rare here so I truly took my time in imbibing the dark ale and Kolsch I tried. I ordered nachos for lunch, the salsa and cheese were great but the chips themselves were rather lacking. The opposite was the case at Yaletown earlier that week, can’t win ’em all.

It was getting a little later in the afternoon by this point so I gave an “adios” to my coworkers and hopped back on the subway to cruise out to Hongdae to meet with my friends from college to go to the FC Seoul match at World Cup Stadium. For all the criticism I had heard of K-League not being that exciting I was rather impressed.

The final score was 3-2 with Seoul coming back in the last-minute of stoppage time to score the final goal. There were good shots on goals and some skilled ball handling at times. It was no EPL and I’d feel sorry for Seoul if they had to play a team on the caliber of Chelsea (my personal favorites) but I feel like they would definitely be able to put on a great game against the Sounders, the MLS squad I cheer for back home.

I also got some interesting looks on my way to the game due to all the clashing colors. I was not only sporting my Chelsea jersey but had a Sounders scarf on and a Seoul FC fan (Blue & Yellow, Green & Black, Red & Black) so stuck out like a sore thumb. All in all I had a great time, now consider my self a FC Seoul fan in the making and can’t wait to go to another game in the near future!

That’s all the time I have for the blog right now. Photos of the game will be up soon and I’ll try to give an update about my Sunday Funday at Jacoby’s Burgers and Roots Time when I get the chance. Thanks for dropping by!

Went on a few pretty awesome adventures in the last couple days. My stomach is pleased and I’m feeling a little more on the ball as a result. This week has not been the most spectacular assortment of food offered by the cafeteria at school to put it lightly… Since I’m here for almost 10 hours a day (including breaks) and there are no real options nearby my hunger has been growing as each day passes. Add on to this that I’m still setting up the new apartment and don’t want to really create any dishes to clean and you start to see the epic proportions of my appetite at mid-week.

Based on this I convinced the Texan (coworker) to accompany me on a sushi mission and Hampton ended up cruising with us after we knocked on her door. Our first stop was at the sashimi place where a few of us had gotten the all you can eat tuna feast a month ago. Unfortunately they didn’t offer rolls just the all you can eat different cuts of tuna which wasn’t what I was jonesing for and more expensive than I wanted. We decided to venture on to Guro Digital Complex where Texas had seen a sushi place a while back.

The walk was fairly interesting because instead of taking the often traveled path towards Daelim station and then following the station we decided to trek through the heart of Chinatown. It felt like we had left Seoul. Samguypsol places were replaced by fried chicken and lamb joint and all the bright Hangul neon lights were replaced with Chinese characters displayed in a manner not necessitating electricity.

When we finally arrived I was pretty shocked. Guro is big and packed full of a plethora of restraunts, hawkers, bars and various other establishments. It felt like being near Sinchon or Konkuk University area. A lot of places to go and a fairly younger crowd. Not a lot of foreigners in this area either.

The first sushi joint we found looked great. Unfortunately it seemed loved by many as it was packed past capacity. There were tons of rolls and a beaming sushi chef pouring shot after shot of soju to boisterous patrons. Next time I’ll definitely check this spot again but it wasn’t meant to be tonight. Traveling further into the heart of Daelim took us past street vendors selling everything from ice cream out of smaller coolers and waffles to the ubiquitous dried squid and fish. We went by hilarious misnamed in Konglish spots such as “May B breakfast and brunch” that was open at 10pm to “Donkey Fried Chicken”. Hilarious.

Next to Donkey Fried Chicken was a small sushi spot we ended up spying from afar. Hangul looks quite different that Kanji so these spots stick out down the brightly glowing neon corridors of Guro Digital Complex. This small hole in the wall was quite the successful destination. Texas ordered a tempura shrimp roll and I asked for some a Unagi (Eel which tastes like BBQed chicken) roll. Both were quite umami (Japanese for delicious and the term for the fifth category of

Forgot my camera but this image is identical to what mine looked like.

taste buds) . Washed down with Miso soup and all for only 6 a piece and I was sated and feeling at ease with the culinary world.

High off of this sushi feast we decided to walk back to a foreign style bar that specialized in import beers. It had the common budweiser and Hoegarden on draft but also Heiniken. I had a bottle of Belgian Leffe Brown and a Becks Dark and Texas partook of some Pilsner Urquell. Quite enjoyable all in all.

Thursday night I met with a friend from Bellingham who is a paragon of generosity here in Seoul. I say this because she not only gave me an extra cell phone she and her boyfriend weren’t using but a toaster oven and two cans of black beans. This amiga knows exactly what gifts to give to have a kemosabi for life. Owe them both a ton and have been brainstorming on a truly epic way to pay them back. To celebrate these newly acquired goods we went and met up with some of her friends at Yaletown in Sinchon.

This spot had beer pong and the intriguing nail in a cross-cut log game. You take a nail for each person playing and drive them in an equal distance. Using the claw end you must be the first of the group to successfully drive the nail all the way down in the fewest hits. This game paired with inebriated college kids would never fly in the states. One thumb gets partially severed and ensuing lawsuits would spell extinction for bar and game. Good thing Korea has a system of law that has many differences…good and bad.

Liability issues aside my nachos with jalapeno, Tabasco onions and fresh guacamole hit the spot. Love me some jalapeno and the only spot I’ve found to procure them has been the Quiznos in Itaewon (which I systematically take 1-2 small to go condiment containers from). Giant pitchers weren’t too expensive and the troves of college kids kind of made me feel like I was back in Bellingham again.

First full paycheck is in the bank! Last week I received my ARC (Alien Registration Card) which is kind of like a green card in South Korea and was able to open up a bank account. Now I just need to register my cell phone and I’m back on the grid! Being without a cell phone, car, bank account or computer for a month and a half was a rather surreal time, haha.

This last weekend was uneventful for the most part but quite enjoyable. Friday night I stayed in Daelim with some of the coworkers. The guys all met up at the indoor screen golf establishment across the street from our apartment building. Screen golf is interesting, I mean it’s definitely not the real deal and the fake plants and piped in birdsongs add a certain faux chesseyness to it but all in all I was kind of impressed. I was allowed to bring in a cheese pizza from the local “Pizza School” (much more tolerable if you add fake bacon bits, oregano, hot sauce and garlic powder) and some Chongha (kind of like Soju but less alcoholic and not as harsh tasting). I didn’t play this eighteen but enjoyed the spectating and smack talking. A pyramid of empty Cass cans at the end of the night was our testament to not worrying about crashing the cart.

Using my paycheck I was able to pay for two epic upcoming events in the next month. The first of these is the Boryeong Mud Festival on the South East Coast here in Seoul. Featuring tons of mud-wrestling, jousting and the like it draws a rowdy crowd of foreigners and Korean for one outstanding weekend of debauchery. I’m going with my coworkers and we reserved a package with a group that is renting out a ton of buses with complimentary beers and has reserved three entire hotels just for people who are part of their group. $100 bucks seemed like a score for the accommodations and busing.

Fingers crossed for sunshine.

This was until my coworker totally outdid herself by making the travel and housing arrangements for Summer vacation. Four of us are traveling down to Busan mid-week of our on week vacation in August. For the total cost of $179 we are taking the KTX (traveling at over 300+ km per hour it is the second fastest train on the planet) and staying at a swanky hotel the first night (Tuesday). The next two nights we have a sweet guest house with full amenities and four bunk beds right near the beach for easy access. The ride back will be a little longer in the commuter train but I know I’ll be so tired it won’t even register past my earphone aided power/recovery nap on Friday back to Seoul.

Add onto all this that I moved apartments on Sunday from the lowly fourth four surrounded by Koreans to the 7th floor which is all SLP employees. I managed to luck out with this because the previous tenant left a ton of stuff which I will definitely utilize in my time here. Now I just need to get over to the lighting store and get some paper lanterns to add a little ambience to the place. Once I have it outfitted to my taste I’ll post some pictures. Until then enjoy this video courtesy of Gold Panda.

   Busy weekend to say the least. On Friday I was part of a cultural exchange between some art students from a small university near Gagnam and four of my coworkers. One of our supervisors is an English teacher to these students so she was facilitating the discussion. A lot of the questions were pretty funny like “When did you have your first kiss?” and “What do you think of men’s fashion in Korea?”. Had a great time afterwards at a Hof with the students just talking about our backgrounds. Definitely feel my charades skills improving.

Trading stories and lots of hand gestures with Korean art majors.

   The next evening was my first time out in the artsy university district known as Hongdae. I’ve heard it’s kinda like the Seoul equivalent of Capitol Hill in Seattle. Kinda hard for me to see the resemblance at the moment since a ton of drunken GIs, bars that never close, accents and languages from all over the world make for it hard to see similarities amidst all the blatant differences. That being said I’ve yet to see a whole lot of Seoul and that would be fairly important for comparative purposes.

   Hongdae did have an interesting mix of loud, three sheets and more than halfway in the bag clubs and smaller bars with a lot of laid back Koreans dancing to bands like Talking Heads, MJ and Beastie Boys. Guess which was my favorite? Haha. Definitely the latter of the two. One of the reasons I wanted to go to this part of town was because it never sleeps during the weekend so I knew I’d be able to catch the big champions match between Barcelona and Manchester United. On of my coworkers is Canadian and a big sports nut so he was down to catch the game. It was an outstanding feeling to look around you at a bar that has the game on a huge projector and notice that you are surrounded by a mixture of Brits, Aussies, Canadians and Americans as well as a ton of Koreans. Park Ji Sung plays for Man U so there are a ton of fans supporting the Manxs.

Ji Sung in the heat of the moment.

   I myself am a big Chelsea FC fan but still enjoy watching two great teams duke it out. Enough so that I would stay up until 6am to watch the game. Felt like the World Cup back when I went to college and we’d stay up all night for the 4:30 or 5am matches and make energy or coffee runs at halftime. Makes me miss the old Garden Street 7s house in Bellingham.  The game, especially first half, was very entertaining and Barcelona is definitely making a strong statement to being one of if not the greatest team of all time. It is however a very disconcerting feeling to step out of a bar into dawn sunshine when you walked in when it was still the cover of night.

Not a Barca fan but respect Messi a ton.

   Yesterday morning when I finally woke up (thankfully the taxis are very cheap here so we were able to get back to the apartment by 7) I wanted to go on a mission. All my coworkers have been feasting around me that week and I really wanted to just have a solid meal. I hopped online (I highly recommend or a number of vegan blogs in Seoul like Alien’s Day Out) and scopped out the location for Loving Hut.

   Loving Hut is a fairly new franchise that has 15+ locations in Seoul and specializes in vegan food. It had just opened a new location in the International District of Seattle so I was kind of intrigued to see how it was. I’ll definitely be dropping by again soon. Fake hot dogs and burgers will be nice if I get a jonesin for Western food. That’s all for now, prety excited for tomorrow since my uncle has a layover and is trying to come into Seoul. Definitely have to research bus and subway routes and also get my apartment spic and span tonight. Adios Amigos!

The title was said a few times while playing darts with my coworkers this weekend. Hope a few of you caught the NBA Jam reference. I like it for being appropriate on a couple of levels, both the climate and my outlook. The temperature is rapidly rising here in Seoul with Saturday being in the high 70s and Sunday feeling even warmer (I would guess low 80s). Since Washington had somewhat of a long, protracted winter (it had a random snow flurry out at my folks at the beginning of May and a chilly Monsoon the last weekend I was there) I’m having to rapidly develop a bit more of a warm temp tolerance. Pretty happy about buying a couple extra pairs of shorts before I left the States.

Skyscrapers all the way to the mountains.

Lucky for me that my coworkers have found a great way to beat the heat. We all just go up to the roof of our apartment building and bask out on blankets with a cd player providing some audio satisfaction. I had some frozen grapes and sunchips I contributed to the cause and was able to do my first loads of laundry since I arrived. Up on the 8th floor we get a pretty good breeze and there are already clotheslines and pins so most of my laundry dried within 4 hours of hanging it.


We also had a couple coworkers that had just came back from the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) on the border with North Korea. They brought some North Korean beer and wine up to the roof. The beer wasn’t bad though hard to gauge when it’s warm and the wine was actually made with blueberries and tasted pretty decent. It’s interesting how little I think about the threat posed by North Korea considering how close they are in proximity. This morning while walking to class I was struck with this thought when I looked up into the sky and three Blackhawk Helicopters were flying North over the buildings in the direction of the most heavily fortified border in the world.

On a different note I’ll conclude this post with the second reason the title seems apt, my perspective. I really feel like I’m getting into my grove. Still no huge amount of culture shock, definitely some moments of social vertigo and at times feeling slightly frustrated when trying to navigate a city this large when you can’t read the majority of the signs but I kinda thought that would happen. All in all I’m feeling really happy already with Seoul and am pretty happy about making the decision to come over here. Time will tell and I shouldn’t be extremely confident because that could just set me up for a huge disappointment down the road but I could see myself making some great friends over here and gaining a more enriched perspective on life and the world.

Thanks for reading, Cheers!

NBA Jam just reminds me of great times as a chillun.

   Today I started writing the monologue for the video they will be showing at the child bereavement camp I volunteer at every summer. It will just be a short 2-3 minute video saying hello to the kids, wishing them well, letting them know how much they mean to me and explaining why I can’t be there. In addition to this I wrote and sent off letters to a few of the teenage boys I usually do more of the one-on-one counseling with explaining how much I regret not being able to be there this year and why this year abroad is so important for me. I really hope they understand, they’re a great group and deserve a few breaks in what has been a life with quite a few tough obstacles to overcome.

    The camp is located at Seabeck, WA and the program that oversees it is known as WICS (Widowed Information Consultant Services) and our specific program Wings is a 3 day session in which kids ranging from kindergartener to teen can all come together with their peers, enjoy group games, hangout at the campfire and talk about the death of a parent or sibling with each other or one of the certified counselors without fear of judgement.

   Unlike many non-profit programs that do more support groups for just the widower, WICS focuses on how to help the family unit as a whole gain some coping skills to deal with the loss a family member. I’ve been one of the few certified youth counselors and have also been the go to speech guy. As my co-facilitator ( the only other counselor with certifications) puts it: I do the big speeches like closing and she tries to take pictures and not cry too much. She’s easily one of the biggest sweethearts I know. The amount of pride I feel in my little brother for stepping up to help out in my absence can’t be expressed in words, this is not a subject that has been easy for him (in truth I feel it is a subject that is not easy for anyone). I’m blessed to have a bro with such a big heart.

   My mother died of AML leukemia at the age of thirty. This camp means a lot to me. Not only was it the same one I attended when I was a little squirt and trying to get by in a world were most other little kids couldn’t even accept the death of parent (tykes have some admirable internal self-defense mechanisms) but this is where I had a lot of the formative moments that put me on the path not only be able to accept the fact that I lost a parent at an early age, but to see the unique perspective it puts me in and some of the strengths as a person associated with that. When you can find the silver lining of any tragic event you have gone along ways towards dealing with that event. Cherishing each moment on this world and trying to make the most of it are hard-earned victories. These experiences also were strong precursors in wanting to make a career out of helping out kids and teens who are going through the journey of grief. Seabeck was the first time where I was a co-speaker with my father for some of the grief seminars on helping out parent’s raising a teenager without the support of a spouse. My father’s advice on impromptu speech creation and drawing inspiration from the heart have given my some of my most powerful tools as an orator.

   The memories I have from my time here have shown me much about the power of the human spirit. From Dr. Bob the Psych PhD who used to let us kids talk to his ventriloquist dummy if they didn’t feel comfortable opening up to an “old fart with glasses” (his words not mine, haha) and put us at ease with a multitude of magic tricks to the charismatic young counselor in his mid-twenties who had lost his own father as a child in the line of duty as a police officer. Many of my earliest role models were encountered. I discovered what Judaism was when my good friend at camp declined on bacon at the cafeteria at breakfast. All in all every time I set foot on the small camp property out on the Olympic Peninsula by Hood’s Canal I’m awash in a wave of powerful memories. Good juju to say the least.

   Since the camp is in June and I leave for Seoul in May this will be the first time in many years I will be unable to attend. While this causes some emotional pain and regret I know that it is for the best in the long-term. As time goes on and the group of teens and children we work with grow more and more diverse it has become apparent to me that to really make a difference in this field I need to be able to understand how grief is expressed in other cultures and just how values differ from culture to culture.

   All of us express the sensation of loss and longing for the presence of a love one in different ways due to our age, sex, family setup, geographical location and a multitude of other factors. We all also go through many different stages on the long and sometimes taxing journey of grief. If I am to be a sherpa to so many of these climbers making such a difficult ascent of the peak of grief I need to become a world citizen. I have lived in a fairly small and geocentric locale all my life and it would be easy for this to become an Achille’s heel towards my career goals of helping to reinvent the bereavement field.

  To counteract the feeling of regret at not being able to be at Seabeck this year I decided to be proactive and start researching opportunities in South Korea to exercise my field in some capacity. While initially having some difficulties in discovering potential avenues the other day I struck gold (picture me pumping fist in air with loud “Eureka!” haha). I wrote in to one of my favorite expat blogs in SoKo ( and was delighted at his in-depth and well thought out response.

  I’m in the process of contacting the non-profit HOPE so that I can be one of their volunteer teacher’s during the off-time from my Hagwon (name of a private English school). Working at orphanages near my home in Seoul will be a great way to not only further my ability to accomplish further enrichment in this field but hopefully to ease the pain of homesickness and to show the world that we Americans put an emphasis on the enrichment of all human beings regardless of race or geographical location. Everyone deserves a chance to make something of themselves. If all goes well I can do much to fight the negative stereotypes of Americans abroad as self-centered and closed-minded. I cannot wait to start my adventure and eagerly await overcoming the trials and tribulations awaiting my in my soon to be home far from home.