One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller

Friday, October 8, 2010

Actively Proactive

The other day a friend of mine told me that I have to be proactive to survive living in such a big city in a foreign country. He was referring to making friends here in Daejeon and, more specifically, when making plans. I understand that this is especially important during this period that I like to call my own personal communication limbo.  I don't have a phone so I don't have, god forbid, texting! (If you know me well then you know that I've never been one to drink the "texting cool aid"). But bless Jesus, I do have the internet. And what would I do without it?? I've become a skyping, facebooking, blogging, instant messaging junkie, which (undeniably) has always been true (to a degree), but has amplified since I've been in Korea. Type Type Type. The tip tap strike of the keys has become the soundtrack to my life these past 2 weeks. In all seriousness, it's my only mode of communication because I live alone and I'm the only native English speaker in my school. So, yes, I agree, you do have to be proactive to survive in a foreign country, but I believe in more ways than one.

I've been walking in larger concentric circles about my neighborhood... if you could call it that. Daejeon has over 1.4 million people and I live in the heart of the city in an area near its "new downtown."  It's not your quiet residential neighborhood.  I'm slowly getting my bearrings. I'm not a person who can look at a map and understand the layout. I need to see it, walk it.  Plus, it gives me something to do during the week, which hasn't been entirely action packed.  Survival 101 in a large city in a foreign country: keep busy doing something, whether that be going for a run, teaching myself korean, going for a walk, having dinner with friends, cooking, blogging, reading, talking with friends, or going shopping. It's different during the weekends where I have the time to get out of the city and do something, but during the week my antidote to impending boredom and possibly homesickness is constant motion.

Today I tried to go for, what has become, my daily run in the park by city hall. What I found was rehearsal for the 2010 World Archery Festival.  I watched for a minute as 10 Korean boys practiced their routines in colorful robes. I opted for a walk around the city instead. I suppose I could have run on the side walks and I sometimes do, but I get looks for that.  I've got my neighborhood pretty well mapped out. Crispy Creme, check! My co-teacher, Jella, calls it, "The Crispy," which I find incredibly cute and very funny. Dunkin' Doughnuts, check! McDonald's, check! Fellas, if you've been searching for the "Sexy Bar" and have yet to find it, lucky for you, I now know where that is too. KFC, check! All my essentials are right around the corner ;)

I think on my next venture I'll take the metro to another area of the city and see where that lands me.


  1. Whoo hoo! Southern food has really conquered the world. Be on the lookout for a Bojangles. ;)

    Sounds like you're having so much fun! YAY!!

  2. you wont be missing any more of your kind of food

  3. Miss you jess love reading everything keep them coming! o and random question i saw a commercial while reading this and mcdonalds here has the monopoly game again do they have that there?? lol random i know but i was wondering how similar they are here and there. miss you tons but glad you are having the time of your life :)

  4. Jen, That will be the day. I'm trying to picture what the Korean take on Bojangles would be? They don't really do biscuits here. Of course, I thought KFC was hard to imagine, but they do have fried chicken.

    Laxmi, I hope that was a joke ;)

    Lauren, that is an excellent question. I might have to do some investigating and report back on the McDonald's experience in Korea =)