Moving to South Korea

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. –Corrie Ten Boom

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Photo I took of Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo, Japan (2017)

The official date of me leaving the US for South Korea will be August 16th and I can hardly believe it. I will begin my exciting, but scary adventure teaching English and living in a foreign country in less than three weeks! Although this has been a dream of mine since I was thirteen years old, I cannot say that this process has been easy and I haven’t been struggling with the stress of it. So many fears fill my head everyday and have made it hard to have peace. There is the fear of not being a good English teacher, there is the fear I won’t enjoy it, there is the fear I won’t be able to go because of some complication of the Visa or finances…There is the sadness of not seeing close family and friends for a year (not to mention getting into a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend). And there is the fear of loneliness. Those are just a few of many fears that have tried to bog me down–fears that seemed to be determined to make me doubt my decision to go. Despite all of this, I know I made the right decision and still am determined to go. So, I wanted to take a moment to inform people (specifically family and friends) a little more about this trip.

Most people know about EPIK when teaching abroad in South Korea. I have been asked over and over if it is with EPIK. I am actually not part of EPIK and will not be teaching via EPIK. I found a recruiting company for English teachers in South Korea called Travel and Teach Recruiting (TTR) on my university’s job portal last summer and looked into it for about seven or eight months (praying, thinking, weighing, deciding) before I applied in February. I did not actually tell anyone at first (not even my parents) because I did not want to be talked out of it or talk about it and then decide not to do it. I just wanted to see what would happen if I took a step in that direction.

Teaching English in Asia had been something I had only dreamed about. It was not something I seriously considered doing until last summer after my month-long trip to Japan. Sure, I talked about it every now and then growing up and listened as the adults talked about it. Sure, I would look in my university’s library at Asian-themed books and teaching-English-as-a-second-language books. Sure, I looked into classes outside my major on teaching English as a second language or English classes in general (because I do love English and had considered it as a minor). But I did not think seriously about it until May 2017, when I found myself standing in Japan and loving every second of it.

I have been to Thailand and Australia in the past, and though I did love Thailand and enjoyed my time in Australia—my love for Japan was on another level. I initially looked into teaching in Japan but found the teaching conditions were better in South Korea. I had no problem switching because I had been wanting to see South Korea as well, and I would still be doing what I wanted to do.

One of my friends who I met through work at my university actually taught English for a year in South Korea. So when she reconnected with me, she told me all about her experience and answered all my questions. It was not until she said I could pay off my student loan while teaching that I decided that maybe I could do this (it was my primary goal to pay it off ASAP so it would not hold me back from doing what I wanted—but if I could do what I wanted AND pay it off then I was all for it).

Fast forward to applying for the recruiting company and not telling anyone about it (except for mentioning it once or twice to select people). I had my voice interview online and was accepted. I was told that they will be looking for a job opening for me if I would start on gathering the needed documents for a visa. Well, being busy with my senior year, I kind of procrastinated on my part until I was set up for an interview with a school. By then, I had informed my parents. A few days after the interview, I was contacted and told that I was offered the job! In order to hold the position I was offered, however, I needed to decide whether I wanted to sign the contract pretty quickly.
Shock and panic is an understatement of how I felt in that moment. I was offered a job at a school in South Korea and I was given maybe a week to decide to accept it. What a blow. One moment I was tentatively playing with the idea of doing something I always wanted to do and the next I was deciding whether I would commit to moving to a foreign country for a year with a language I did not speak while teaching English (which I felt completely unprepared to do), leaving behind the friends and family in the city I was born in and had lived in all my life. The stress and anxiety I felt while making that decision was beyond most stress I had ever felt. I felt myself caving. Because it would be easier to cave into the timidity and fear, easier to just stay, easier to give up on that dream. It would be easier to stay in my comfort zone. But caving in now would only cause regret and wonder later in life and prevent me from showing myself that all things were possible with God. That God really could make that timid thirteen-year-old’s doubtful dream become a reality.

So, with trepidation, I signed what felt like my life away to teach a year in South Korea.

Only people who know me and know how I was growing up might fully understand just how big of a step this was for me. I had allowed my fear to dictate a large portion of my life, never doing something too horrendously outside my comfort zone. Though, I did make some decisions which were probably stepping stones to get me to the point in my life where I was willing to take a greater leap outside of the walls of my comfort.

I wish, I wish, I wish I could fully describe and stress how much I doubted I would ever do this. The dream first came to me when I was thirteen years old after my first life-changing trip to Thailand. I was bitten by the travel bug, by the mission’s bug, by the desire to step out of my comfort zone. Before Thailand, I was fine with staying in my comfort zone—I mean it was comfortable and I was doing perfectly fine in it. After Thailand, I began to dream that I would become bolder and be a missionary for Christ.

It was that desire that led me to go to Australia (even though it was not Asia) when I was eighteen, and later Japan, and eventually preparing for a year in South Korea. If only I could tell thirteen-year-old me that it is possible and not to be disappointed in my shyness and fear. If only I could tell my little self that despite the immense fear, I was still going for it and that the eradication of fear is not needed in order to go after what you feel God has called you to do. If only I could tell little me that God fights hard for those who seek Him, and He was not going to disappoint me.

So, after signing away my next year to go live and teach in South Korea, I began gathering the needed documents. For anyone interested in doing this, it is okay if you have no idea how to go about teaching in a foreign country—do not worry as you will figure it out as you go and there are plenty resources online. Also, the visa process is not an easy, breezy, non-stressful task and costs an unfortunate amount of money. Especially for those times you forget to sign a page and have to send the signed page through speed-mail and pay just as much as you did sending the original packet (try your best to avoid doing that—there will be less stress and will be a little less expensive). And boy! Do you have to mail so many things! So, when you’re on a time-crunch and have to wait to receive your diploma to do most of the steps, procrastination is not your friend and being proactive is (thankfully, I was so stressed about it, I rarely procrastinated).

With this entire visa process they sure make sure you are serious about this moving business, because I do not know anyone who would go through all of that without being certain. It makes you second-guess yourself a lot. I often wondered if I really should be doing this since I get so stinkin’ stressed about it. But these wonderings never wavered the assurance I felt of going. No matter how much tears were shed or how many acne breakouts there were and continue to be or how much extra hair was lost—I was not going to back down. But I am going to figure out how to de-stress and stop worrying over every detail. I do not want to live like that, no way! God has me, and it is going to be fine.

Since I have completed all the visa steps and am just waiting for the visa to be mailed to me, and since the flight itinerary is being settled, and piles are starting to cover my room as I think about what to bring, it’s starting to feel a little more tangible. I am starting to feel like I am actually going and the excitement is starting to overpower the worry (Thankfully!). What a crazy ride it has been so far!

So, this is what my journey has been so far. I will have a week of training when I arrive and will start officially teaching the following week. I am unsure when my breaks are and how long they are, so currently there are no plans of visiting home during my year in S. Korea. I will be working long hours, so I expect to be tired, and will be working with kindergarten and early elementary children (my favorite age-group). I will have housing provided for and heard it is near the school (which is convenient). I’m still in the process of figuring out bank and phone details but hope to have that squared away soonish.

If you have any more questions, please comment below or private message me! I just wanted to share a bit more about how I decided to do this, how the trip is coming and where I am currently in the process. I hope this helped! I hope to eventually write more about this!

P.S. the hardest part of deciding what to bring with me as I prepare to move to another country is the books. I want to bring them all but having access to my library’s ebooks and audiobooks via an app on my phone has lowered the number to three currently (though I still feel the temptation to add to it). I also heard that I will be able to have access to the library in the city I am living and that there is an English section. Huzzah for reading!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

 

You Are Capable

If you can dream it, you can do it. –Walt Disney

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

You are capable. You are capable of doing all those sweet dreams deep in your heart. Maybe you do not believe it now, but I hope you will one day. Today, I want to talk about loving yourself and self-confidence. I mentioned this for a brief moment in the last post, but I want to expound on it more since it is so vital to our journey of change. In order to chase dreams, you need to know that you are capable and you have an amazing purpose in life. Not everyone may believe in God, but I do—and I believe that when He created us, He created us with a purpose and placed dreams inside our hearts. I believe they are there because we are capable of doing them—with His help of course. However, we do not need to worry about His helping us. We need to focus on taking steps and persevering and going hard after those dreams. Only then will God meet us half-way and you will see impossibilities become possible and a supernatural favor.

So, I reiterate. You are capable of changing and fully capable in achieving your dreams.

When I was thirteen years old, I went to Thailand on a mission’s trip with my mom. I truly believe it was in that moment when the dreamer inside of me awoke. However, even though I began to feel those secret desires begin to manifest, I did not believe I was capable of achieving them. I was super shy when I was a kid. I could not talk to strangers, and I could barely talk to people I knew. I wanted to help people, wanted to move to Asia even if temporary, and wanted to do so much, but if I thought about actually doing them…It scared me out of my mind. I remember praying every day for years for an inner boldness because my greatest fear was that I would be too afraid to chase my dreams.

I did not believe I was capable. Even with God’s help I was afraid I was not capable.

Around the same time I began having those secret dreams that I never voiced to anyone except for maybe my mom (until much, much later), I also began to fall into self-hatred. I hated myself for being too shy to talk to others, I hated myself for being too shy to do something I wanted to do, I hated myself for not going after my dreams (because I was so sure I never would), and I hated that everyone else knew I was shy too.

Constantly, I was told that I was quiet and shy, and constantly I felt people trying to pull me out and tell me to be bold and speak up. And I tried. I really did. But it was disheartening when I did make the effort to say something, I only heard the same things I heard before. They seemed to not see that it just took everything in me to say that sentence or two.

It is pretty funny to think about it now. Honestly, saying a sentence or two in a group setting was a lot of talking for me. Of course, they would still see me as quiet and shy! I just did not realize at the time. It caused a lot of discouragement and dislike for myself. (Disclaimer: I do not want this to sound like people from my past caused this, because I know they saw some things in me that I did not. They were trying to draw it out. And it is likely they did not know the effort that went into saying what I did say or they did and were trying to draw out more.) Anyways, this timidity and discouragement and self-hatred continued with little change until a little more than a year ago.

Yes, I did keep trying to push myself. Yes, I did not give up. Yes, I kept trying to step out of my comfort zone. And yes, I did get bolder. I knew this, but my self-hatred only grew rather than lessen. I was not even aware that I hated myself. I see it so clearly now, but back then all I thought about was working hard to step out. And focusing on the jealousy that was taking hold of me.

I know jealousy really began to be a problem for me in high school. I was jealous of anyone who was bolder than me and was entrusted with what I considered to be positions of boldness. I knew they would do great things. Everyone told them so. I told them so—and I believed it. However, I was jealous of them because I felt like I could never be like them (which is true, I can only be me) and I hated myself for being jealous of my friends. I believed I would continue to be behind everyone else and never become the person I wanted to be. When I slept, my dreams would be full of action-packed adventure where I was helping others and was bold and fearless. It was (and is still) who I wanted to be with every fiber of my being. I was never the damsel in distress in those dreams (though, I do love the idea of some knight in shining armor saving the princess—I think there are times we cannot do everything on our own and more frequently than we think).

My jealousy pinnacled in college (at least so far—definitely have not fully defeated the jealousy beast). Junior year of college was the hardest year I’ve experienced because of several things, but I’d say 40% of the reason was because of jealousy and self-hate. I mention them both because I believe the two are tied together. I am only jealous because I do not see my own worth and do not love myself. I came to that realization I think in April 2017 when a friend told me that I have worth and that I was not a bad person for being jealous of my best friends. Man, did I need to hear that. Those words healed my hurting heart and if I had not heard them in that moment when my heart was crumbling, I do not know where I would be today. She was a literal God send, and I knew it.

After that day, my heart was more open for healing and love than it was before. My friend basically told me that I need to learn to love myself and accept the love of my Heavenly Father in order for the jealousy to go away. I was amazed how much love and acceptance I felt in the next three months from God and from others. I went to Japan from May 2017 to June 2017, and by the time I returned from the trip my heart felt more happy and whole than it had in a long time. I realize now the importance of loving yourself, believing in yourself, and moving from a place of love.

I do not know if this speaks to any of you, I hope some part of it has, but I want to encourage you that you ARE loved, you ARE capable, you HAVE worth. You can chase those dreams in your heart. I shared this only because I remember and still occasionally deal with the hurt and pain of self-hate. It sucks the life out of you. It consumes you. It stunts you. It haunts you. You make decisions out of that fear and hate. You do not see your own potential. But God does and so do I. Maybe I do not see YOU, but I know you are capable because I know I am capable too.

How can you begin to love yourself?

First, you must FORGIVE yourself for all your failures, mistakes, and wrongdoings. You must forgive the people who did not see your worth. You must forgive yourself from the future you thought you were going to live. Forgiveness is so important to living life without bitterness. We cannot let unforgiveness fester inside of us because it only makes us depressed, angry, and bitter.

Second, you must be merciful and gracious to yourself when you feel like you have failed again. No one is perfect, not even you, so do not expect yourself or others to be so. Change takes time and consistency.

Third, you must accept yourself where you are at right now. Not where you are going to be, not where you want to be, but where you are right now. You must love yourself for who you are today. God loves YOU. Not only the person you will become, but the person you are today and He believes in you.

Fourth, realize you are fully capable of growing and changing. Some exercises that can help is to write out some words you want to believe about yourself and then speaking them out loud every morning. You can stand in front of a mirror and speak them to yourself as well. Also taking time to write a phrase you want to believe about yourself over and over again. Example:

I believe I am fully capable of achieving my dreams.

I believe I am fully capable of achieving my dreams.

I believe I am fully capable of achieving my dreams.

I believe I am fully capable of achieving my dreams.

I believe I am fully capable of achieving my dreams.

When you have created negative pathways in your brain of self-hate over and over, we need to purposely work to change those pathways and it’s not always easy. But remember to have grace and mercy for yourself when you feel like you’ve failed.

Speaking out verses from the Bible have always helped me. I’ll attach a recording of spoken word (gathered from Bible verses and sermons) at the bottom of this post that a friend of mine created a few years ago which has been great encouragement to me and have been speaking over myself ever since. Even if you do not want to speak verses over yourself, I encourage you to listen to this recording at least once to see if there is anything you might want to add to the confession that you write for yourself.

To help with forgiveness, you can try to write a letter to yourself or to the person you wish to forgive and share why they hurt you and then tell them why you will forgive them but never send it to them (unless it is you—HAHA). This may be difficult and may not work for everyone, but it is worth a try.

To summarize:

  1. Forgive yourself and others.
  2. Have grace and mercy for yourself when you feel you fail.
  3. Accept who you are right now.
  4. Know you are fully capable of growing and changing.

Focus on the things that you succeeded in and the challenges you have overcome to remind yourself that you are not a failure. Failure only happens when someone has decided to give up. Do not give up on yourself. You are capable and remember, if you can dream it, you can do it.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

P.S. here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyAftxWpJQ4

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.