Adjusting to a Foreign Country

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. –Walt Disney

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Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

This is a much-needed update about my time in Korea. I feel bad for not doing well in keeping up with my posts, but transitioning to a new life makes it hard to find time for anything except breathing and eating. I’ve been in Korea for a little over a month now and have been officially teaching English for four weeks. If you are looking for someone to paint you a false picture of all rainbows and sparkles about moving to another country, then don’t look here! I will be honest and say it is a big adjustment and I am trying to learn to love myself through the process.

First, I’ll start by sharing my experiences with teaching. I have to say that week one of teaching felt like a disaster and was one of my more stressful experiences. I had so much to learn and so much to do and was making a million and one mistakes every day that it is no wonder that I cried my first day of teaching. Despite this, I was pretty excited to be teaching and adored the kids. The weeks that followed were much better and I have been adjusting pretty well to the crazy teaching schedule. I really do love teaching these kids and they are so adorable!

I teach five-year-olds five classes in the morning and early afternoon (Korean age is actually a year or two older than American age, so the five-year-olds are actually around three- or four-years-old). They are my favorite classes to teach because they are so sweet and loving! They tell me constantly that they love me and give me many hugs. I really do love them! After a short break/prep time, I teach four classes of first graders that come from another school. I am slowly learning to enjoy teaching them too. They definitely were not my favorite that first week, but now I actually enjoy teaching them on most days. Because they are older, I feel they can sometimes be a bit hard to control. However, after getting some classroom management help, I’ve been doing much better.

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My first graders drawing and reading after their monthly exam.

I still make a lot of mistakes every day, but teaching is a learning experience. I know I will continue to get better and learn the best way to help my students the most! I want them to do well. Grading, although sometimes a lot of work, can be quite entertaining. It is fun to see what the kids think about and their thought processes. I have laughed many times, because who would not laugh when a kid compares himself to a parrot because he is a good listener? Or when they are supposed to create a new creature and one says that his creature has 100,000,000 billion teeth? It is pretty entertaining.

We had a pajama day for the five-, six-, and seven-year-olds this last Friday, which was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen. I wore my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fuzzy pajama bottoms and was petted and hugged by many little children that day. My favorite was either the dino slippers one boy wore, or the boy who was so proud to show me his alphabet pajamas. I am glad I work at a place that has dress up days! Halloween is next!

 

 

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Brayden’s dino slippers for Pajama Day.

 

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Yeonjun’s alphabet pajamas he was so proud to show me.
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My homeroom class on Pajama Day.

I love talking about the kids and can probably talk about them all day. I obviously will not–But here are some more pictures!

 

Since I am at work most of the time, my time outside work has been spent relaxing, cleaning my apartment, cooking, eating and sleeping. I have struggled with figuring out how to shop for food the most. I can clean, organize, and do laundry just fine. Cooking and shopping for food? I have no clue what I am doing. I never knew it was this hard to figure out. My first two weeks were ramen and curry every night. Not doing a whole lot better about my meals now, but have been taking it a meal at a time.

There are no driers here, so I hang my clothes to dry. I have no problem with doing this until it is an extra humid day and the clothes take three days to dry. Or when they dry wrinkled and I have no way to unwrinkled them. Still a struggle. I probably will invest in a steamer. I do find that I do better with laundry here though than I did back home. I am not entirely sure why, but it is true.

I have figured out how to handle the wet floor from the showers (since you just shower on the bathroom floor), so it is no longer that much of a problem. However, my skin reacts strongly to the water here. Maybe because of the chemicals used to clean the water, but I wash my face with bottle water and am looking for a shower head filter. Itching on my hands after washing my hands is not too bad, but itching on my back, arms, chest, neck, and head while showering is something else entirely. Also found out I am allergic to the body wash I have been using for the past several months. Yay! Now I have to be weary about all the products I use. My face and hair have not liked the move here either, and am currently looking for ways to solve those problems.

I have enjoyed exploring my city during the weekends, taking time to explore stores, restaurants, cafes, churches, and just getting used to how to get around. My friend/coworker and I have decided we like the trains better than the buses, against what most of our other coworkers think. Trains seem much more straightforward to us and less stressful than buses where you have to find the right bus and press the stop button when you get off. We had several bad experiences with them and no bad experiences with trains. So, we like trains. We walk so much here that I think I lost some weight from it all. I am used to feeling my feet and legs ache.

However, maybe because of the stress of moving, teaching, time change, food change, weather and air change, I think my immune system is down. I’ve been sick the past two weeks which makes it hard to explore as much as I would like. I am in the process of trying to build my immune system back up. I’m ready to not have to cough every five minutes.

Because this week is a big Korean holiday called Chuseok, I have three days off work so I was able to go to Seoul this past weekend and meet up with some friends and explore. It was a great way to release some stress and just have some fun, even if I got sick after coming back. We explored Myeongdong, Gangnam, did some karaoke, and went to Namsan Tower and the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was a blast and I am excited for my next adventure! It was also nice to see some familiar faces and I really enjoyed hanging with my friends!

Since I have been struggling with some acne and hair problems, I have been trying to learn to love myself with those imperfections. It is much easier to love yourself when you don’t hate looking at yourself in the mirror. It is something I know God has been working with me on. So, I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to love myself with the imperfections as I am trying to find the solution, and how not to stress as I stress about things too much. Everything has worked out so far, so there is no need to stress!

Final update, I have a bank account, my alien registration card, and a Korean phone number even if I am planning to switch around my phone plan. I will get my first full pay check in a couple of weeks, and will have to pay my first month of bills soon after. Little by little I am settling in for my year of living here!

I am really glad to be here and really do love my job, even if things have not been super easy. And I do have some prayer requests!

  • Please continue to pray that I would be able to find a home church while I am here!
  • I would love prayer for my body. I need to build back up my immune system so I can stop being sick.
  • Also, that I can find a good shower filter so I can take a shower without itching like crazy and getting red marks all over my body.
  • Prayer that I will be able to make some more friends here!
  • I would always like prayer that I will continue to learn how to be a good teacher.
  • Please pray for my students as well!
  • Prayer that I will be able to pick up on the language while I am here
  • Prayer that I’ll have a better ease at locating the things I need. I still have had no luck locating a few necessities in stores.

Kicking Fear in the Face

Moving past the wishing was requiring me to walk into my fears…The reality is that many times in life in order to have the types of relationships we desire, the careers we dream of, and the influence we hope for, we will need to kick fear in the face and go after it. –Past the Wishing by Jen Deweerdt

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For the past week, I have been in South Korea, but I still feel like this is a dream. Although I have experienced a lot of fear and excitement for this new adventure, I must say it has not sunk in yet, whether it be because I have gone on short term trips before and expect to return in a few weeks or because I’m still living out of a suitcase. Whatever the case, I am here but do not feel like I am really here. Being in South Korea, preparing to teach English to children, and adjusting to this idea of living in a foreign country has not been all rainbows and sparkles. Obviously, I did not expect it to be and maybe that is why I am doing okay.

There were days where I was short-tempered because of lack of sleep and jetlag, tired feet, and growling stomachs. There were days of terrifying fear. There were days of soaked clothes because I had no umbrella, or an aching back from weird sleeping positions and lots of walking. And there have been days of a few tears as well. The four most common emotions and feelings I have felt since being here is excitement, fear, tired, and feeling overwhelmed. However, things are starting settle in, and my excitement is growing.

The first three days of being in South Korea were spent just exploring my city, my new home. My mom and I rode trains and buses, ate at restaurants, visited tourist sites, cat cafes, and museums, and even climbed up a mountain and looked down at the breathtaking landscape (though the cable car did most of the work). All the Korean I studied before the move seemed to vanish from my mind the moment I stepped into the plane to head to South Korea. So much for all the studying…I pray I can learn this language quickly.

After becoming a little familiar with the city and its transportation (thank you, Japan, for helping me), it was time to meet the people I have been communicating with online for several months, to see where I will be working, and what I will be doing. And I was so nervous. What if they do not like me? What if I do not like them? What if I do not like the school’s atmosphere? However, those fears slowly slipped away after meeting person after person, observing classes full of brilliant Korean children, and starting my training. I began to feel that maybe I might like it here. I clicked surprisingly well with the students in the first class I observed, only to find out later that I would be their main homeroom teacher the following week. Out of all the classes I observed in the next week, I definitely seemed to click with them the most and was able to observe many of their classes.

I must say that the work, rules, and expectations seem a bit overwhelming especially that first day. I felt lost, underqualified, and underprepared. But then I remember that God does not always call the qualified. He qualifies the called. And I know that I have all the tools I need to succeed here, because God is with me. Of course, the teachers at the school were super supportive and have given me so many tools in which to get through my next week of teaching. They encouraged me by reminding me that mistakes will be made but I will continue to learn and grow. To quote one of my coworkers, “You are a good teacher. But even if you are not one now, you will be.” Much need encouragement.

After my first day of training, I was moved out of the hotel I was sharing with my mom to the motel provided by the school until I can move into my apartment. I must say that first night was not my happiest moment. It was lower quality than I would have wished and I was supposed to stay there all alone. The locks on the doors were iffy which just made me feel even more unsafe. And my mom was about to head back home and leave me alone in this foreign country. I was really missing my boyfriend a lot as well. But I encouraged myself by remembering that God is a better protector than doors, and I was safer in His will than out of it and being here was something I felt God was leading me to do. So, He will keep me safe. I also reminded myself of all the missionary stories I’ve heard and knew if God could protect them from scarier situations than being in a questionable motel, then I will be okay.

The next day I met the other new teachers, and immediately was comforted that I was not the only one feeling tired, lost, and overwhelmed. I was not the only one trying to figure out how to live in a foreign country while trying to learn how the new job worked. Since that day, I have been feeling much better, and have been throwing myself in preparing to teach English.

Since the motel had no WiFi, I would wake up early and walk down to a nearby Starbucks and message friends and family back home, then go to training. We usually finished training around 6:30p or 7pm, and then the new teachers and I would go look for dinner before heading back to the motel.

One other thing I was worrying about throughout the week was finding a good home church while I was here in South Korea. I was worrying that I would have to do the exploring by myself, but then I reminded myself once again that God provides. If God brought me here, then He will provide the way and the church and the friends. After praying about it one day, I was amazed when one of the teachers brought up her church to which I immediately pounced on it. Wrote down all the info and one of the new teachers and I are planning to check it out this Sunday. God really does provide.

Today is the day I move into my apartment! I am excited to finally have a place and not have to move luggage around. I am excited to unpack, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and buy things for the apartment. Today and tomorrow I will be busy prepping for the next week of classes I will be teaching, and despite the fear I feel about teaching English for the first time, I am so excited to be a teacher of three, four, five, and six-year-olds. These kids are incredibly smart and can speak a lot of English already. I am already making plans for what I want to do. And yesterday I was able to buy some school supplies for myself, which also made me feel super excited to be a teacher.

The kids are super cute and sweet, the people are kind, and I really do think I will like it here. Excited for this adventure!

Some prayer requests:

  1. My back has been aching really bad and has been giving me a lot of problems. There have been several days I have not been able to bend over. I am doing daily back stretches which have been helping, but I would appreciate some prayer for healing.
  2. I would also appreciate continued prayer that I will be able to have a good home church here
  3. On top of that, some good friends outside of work. 😊
  4. I would love prayer that I will be able to fully prepare for this next week of classes, that the kids will respond well to the teacher changes, and that they will be able to continue to learn well!
  5. I would also like prayer for speedy results for Alien registration so I can open a bank account here and get a phone plan!
  6. Pray that I learn this language quickly!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

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

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.

 

Courageous or Comfortable? : Learning to Face Your Fears

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. –Walt Disney

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Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

If I could think of one thing that keeps me from chasing my dreams and the plan God has for me, it would be fear. Fear keeps me comfortable, complacent, and safe, but also keeps me from changing. I do not know about you, but I do not want to remain the same person I am today. I want to continue to grow, mature, and develop. If I never change, then how can I change my circumstances? Although fear is not necessarily something to disregard and never listen to, it is something that can hold you back.

In the last post, I briefly mentioned my term “practicality thinking.”  Practicality thinking, as stated before, keeps us safe, tries to protect us, and is not entirely evil. Sometimes that fear can keep us alive and well. But we cannot let that fear have control over our decisions. In “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, she mentions how we should not try to rid ourselves of our fears. Instead, we should acknowledge that those fears are there and give them permission to be in the car with you while letting them know they are not going to be making any decisions and are not allowed to touch the driver’s wheel. I thought this was an interesting idea since I had always thought that it was better if I could rid myself of those fears that hold me back completely. But now I believe those fears are there to help us become stronger the more we overcome those fears. That’s why it is called “overcoming fears.”

I think this can help us to see fears as something that will always be a part of our lives but we have the choice of not listening to them. In order to chase the dreams in our hearts, we will have to overcome a lot of our fears.

As a shy girl, I had many fears. Fears that still try to take control of my life today. Many times, I have allowed those fears to define my life and only a few times gained enough courage to tell my fears “no, I will do it anyway.” It came to the point two years ago where I began to believe I would not be able to do anything I wanted to do. I saw myself as a turtle who would curl up in its shell for protection whenever I saw something that made me afraid. And after being tired of facing fears and failing to face fears, I was tempted to curl in my shell forever and give up. I was ready to give up on being me and just allow myself to coast through life. I wanted to give up on my dreams and just live a comfortable life where I do not have to do things that stretched me any longer. When I thought about what my future would look like through that lens, life seemed grey and pointless. I knew I had to fight something if I didn’t want that life I pictured to come into fruition.

Last year, I dared myself to dream again despite my fears of dreaming. This year, I’ve decided to face some fears that stand in the way of my dreams. Here are some fears that I believed and allowed to control my life:

What if I never do what I want to do? What if I never become the person I want to become?

What if I say something stupid and embarrass myself?

What if I can’t do it? What if I fail?

What if they don’t like me? What if they think I am weird?

What if they are not really my friends and they leave me?

What if bad things happen if I do that?

What if I don’t like it and can’t back out?

What if this person decides they don’t like me anymore?

If I get into this relationship, what if they start liking someone better than me and leave me?

What if I chose to get into this relationship and it doesn’t work out so we break-up?

What if I’m hurt by this decision or this person?

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I’m not perfect? 

These are a few examples of fears I had and still have that I have allowed to define my life. Some of them came from past experiences of hurt and pain, whereas others are fears that seem to come out of nowhere. We must not allow those fears to guide our lives, but we can use them to be more cautious in our choices. After we have thought over, prayed, wrestled with a decision, we can decide whether or not it is worth the risk.

For example, two years ago I was debating whether or not to go on a mission’s trip with my university. I was afraid of committing in case I did not raise the money in time to go and would have to publicly step down. I did not believe I would be able to raise all the money. However, it occurred to me that if I did not try, I would always wonder what would have happened if I had tried.

I had this same mindset when I decided to apply for teaching English in South Korea. I was terrified out of my mind into committing to the idea for so many reasons, but I knew I would forever regret and wonder if I did not try. If I did not show myself it was possible for me to have the courage to do this, then how could I believe in myself for future endeavors? If I disappointed myself in one area, I will discourage myself from trying in other areas as well.

We must cling to some courage to face our fears as if our life depended on it, because if you want growth and change in your life you will have to take some risks. “You can be comfortable or courageous, but you cannot be both” (Brene Brown).

You cannot change inside your comfort zone, and you cannot chase your dreams either. So, if you are up to change and chasing dreams, you must be ready to say goodbye to your comfort zone.

Since facing fears has not been an easy task for me, I had to approach it differently than I normally would. I would first identify what were some fears that kept me from doing things I wanted to do. Then, I decided how much I wanted the dream to come true and whether or not I would be disappointed in myself for not doing it. I then allowed myself to think about how I felt in the past when I did not do something I wanted to do because of fear and imagined how I would feel if I allowed fear to win again. Would I regret not facing this fear later? Would I wonder what would have happened if I had done it? If I knew that I would have any regret in choosing comfort over my dreams, I would force myself to do it and tell myself to just try. I would remind myself that no matter what the outcome, at least I did not allow fear to decide and did not allow myself to regret choosing comfort. This way, I am seeing these opportunities less as whether I would fail or not, but rather as opportunities of growth from doing something I was scared to do. Also, so that I could be proud that I faced my fears even if the opportunity did not go well and I would know that I tried.

This has helped me in making decisions for chasing my dreams, and I haven’t regretted those decisions so far. I know this is only one step towards realizing my dreams, but at least it prevents me from staying complacent and fear-driven. I hope this give you another perspective on how to overcome some fears you have. You only have to start with one at a time. The more you conquer, the more confident you will be in taking the next steps towards your dream. Start small if you have to.

So which will you choose? Courageously pursuing your dream or comfortably complacent with the life you live now?

Here is a small list of things that scared me that I did this year (some small, some big):

Got into my first relationship

Applied for an English Teacher Recruiting Company

Interviewed for a job

Signed a contract for teaching English for a year in South Korea

Prayed in a group setting

Started a blog and shared it with friends and family

 

Good luck on facing your fears!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

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

 

 

Remembering How to Dream

You have to dream before your dreams can come true.—A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

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This may seem silly to say, but in order to pursue your dreams, you must have dreams to pursue. Many people do not know what their dreams are…or if you were like me, maybe you have forgotten how to dream at all. We must remember how to dream so that we can start on this adventure of living the life of your dreams. Some people may scoff or laugh at this concept of “remembering how to dream” but I know it was a reality in my life and I’m sure in many others as well.

For the longest time, I refused to allow myself to dream anything except for some simple and normal things: to graduate from college, to get married, be a mom, to serve God however He wanted me to. These things are not unimportant (some being very important and real dreams), but they are also what we were kind of taught to dream. It’s what we see people do, it’s what we hear about. I never dreamed anything outside of those and if I ever felt dreams tickle my mind or felt my heart whisper—I did not listen. I was forcing myself to forget my dreams because of fear…because of “practicality thinking” (a term I have decided to deem those thoughts as). Why would I not allow myself to dream?

One big reason was because I did not believe I could do any of those things that did try to make its way out. Like my last post, that was because of some self-hate and lack of self-confidence. Learning to love yourself will help you remember to dream again. As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Another major reason was because I truly believed that if I voiced or acknowledged any of my dreams that God would take them away. I knew God wanted Himself to be number one in our lives and often require us to surrender ourselves, our worries, and our dreams to Him. I was silly enough to think that if I did not dream, maybe I would trick God and it would happen anyways, or that the disappointment of having an unrealized dream would be less painful if I never dreamed it.

How sorely wrong I was…

Instead I found myself hurting because I was not realizing ANY dreams and felt like I did not have any idea what to do with my life (not that dreaming would help me know which direction to go). Also, there is a verse in the Bible that says “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33). I believe a similar result will come to those who try to keep their dreams. I was being selfish and trying to keep my dreams by not dreaming at all, but instead of keeping them, I was losing them. God is not so cruel as to take away everything we dream. But He does want to make sure we are in the right place with the right heart attitude as we pursue those dreams. I believe God placed dreams in our heart and wishes to give us those dreams as long as He is put first. “Delight in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). That does not mean we seek Him because we want those desires, but rather to see this as a promise that as long as we are seeking God and following Him, He WILL give us those desires.

Other reasons for me not dreaming were from my “practicality thinking.” I often would think things like, “Well, if I do this then I can’t do that” or “No one would like this or care about this” or “My parents won’t let me do this” or “People will laugh at me if I do this.” These are what I call “practicality thinking.” They are fears that may or may not be irrational; fears we believe, fears we succumb to, fears we use as excuses, fears we let drive our lives. This fear will be with us wherever we go, no matter how much we have grown or changed. They will never leave us.

“Practicality thinking” keeps us safe, tries to protect us, and is not entirely evil. However, while it may not be all bad, it is not all good either. Some fears are irrational. Most fears will not end your life. And all will keep you inside your box of comfort never allowing you to leave unless you go against the voice telling you “Stooop!” Yes, this voice may be right sometimes. Yes, maybe those fears might become a reality. But this voice will also prevent you from chasing your dreams and keep you from growing.  I will go more into this fear in my next post.

Returning to this idea of remembering how to dream, we must not allow any of these fears, doubts, or struggles to prevent us from dreaming.

A year ago, I remembered how to dream. It was awkward (and still is occasionally), but it has brought me back to life and placed more hope in me than I had had in a long time. How did I remember how to dream?

First, I had to realize that I was loved and learn to love myself (if you struggle with this refer to my last post, “You Are Capable”). After that, I had to realize it was okay to dream those dreams that scare you. Remember “if you can dream it, you can do it”? Well, do not doubt in your capabilities. It may take some time to gain confidence in your ability to achieve your dreams, but you must disregard the fear of failure and allow yourself to dream. It will feel uncomfortable and it may feel like there is a war going on inside you, but you must push those aside and allow yourself to dream about what could be. What are some desires, interests, wishes you have that maybe you never thought you could do or have? Write them down, no matter how crazy they can be. If the voice of your “practicality thinking” is too loud, you can write down those thoughts and fears leaving blank space between each of them and then go back to fill in the blank space with why you are afraid of this, what is the worst that can happen if the fear came true, and how you can overcome it if it did happen. Finally, write a positive affirmation/statement contradicting the original fear you wrote down describing why you CAN do it. This is an exercise I took from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Artist of Life 2018 Workbook by Aileen Xu of Lavendaire.

Unhinge yourself from those thoughts, fears, and lies so that you can truly be free to dream those crazy, bizarre, ridiculous dreams. Write down even the small dreams up to the very big ones. Just go crazy. Remember that you are relearning how to dream, so you must not throw away even the silly desires that pop up. Don’t judge. Just write down any dreams that come to you. If you still are struggling with where to start, here are some prompts to think about to help you get started:
Where would you like your health to be?

What are some small interests and hobbies you wish you could do?

What are somethings you want to learn?

What kind of home, clothes, and life do you want to have?

Where would you like to live?

How do you want to feel about yourself?

What do you want to do?

Just write down anything that comes to mind while thinking about these questions. Do not be critical. Do not be negative. Do not allow your “practicality thinking” and fears to plug up your ability to dream wildly and freely.

After you have written them all down, either mark with a star or make a separate list of the most important dreams—the ones that mean the most to you or you want the most—and then make a daily or monthly plan on how you will achieve your dream. I did this same exercise a year ago. Seriously. I wrote down all those crazy dreams even though I thought it was silly. I knew I needed to relearn how to dream. Then I selected the dreams that were most important to me or wanted the most. I wrote down steps to achieving those dreams in very small simple steps. I looked at the first step, the easiest step, and then I started working towards those dreams a little every day. Of course, I was not perfect. I missed days, weeks, and months out of laziness and procrastination, but instead of beating myself up I just told myself to try again and take the next step.

I will use an example of one of my dreams:

Dream: Live in Asia

How: Teaching English

I had absolutely NO idea how to do this and it seemed so impossible at the time, but I remembered I had to start somewhere. So as step one, I looked up requirements and ‘how to’s on Google. Yeah. I looked up “How to move to Asia” on Google and I found some helpful tips. I looked on my university’s job portal for any English teaching jobs in Asia and saved them. I looked at requirements. I looked at any job offerings that interested me. I talked to a friend who had just come back from teaching South Korea about her experience. I found a recruiting company that recruits English teachers in South Korea, I read reviews on them, looked at their job postings, their steps, their applications, and saved it for another day. Then I began collecting a few small items I would need to apply to the recruiting company, knowing that having a recruiter to help me along the way would make it more likely that I would go.

A few months went by where I thought, debated, prayed, and wrestled with whether or not I would apply. February this year, I decided to just take the first step and apply because I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t. So, I applied. I was interviewed two days later and was accepted. Several panicked, stressful, terrifying steps later (and after a lot of checking and researching that this was not a scam), I find myself here in the final steps of attaining my visa and planning to leave August 19th.

I have used this as an example many times because a year ago this was on the list of dreams that I said “Psh…This will never happen. I’m too scared to do it, I do not even know where to start, I probably won’t do this.” I’d like to tell myself a year ago, “Kaitlyn, you CAN do it. Just don’t give up!” I won’t say it was a breezy, happy, non-stressful experience to get me to where I am now, but I do not regret this. It’s forcing me out of my comfort zone towards something I always wished I was brave enough to do.

AND…it all started with writing down all those bizarre, crazy dreams.

So, I’m here to tell you to dream big dreams! Allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to believe in yourself. Allow yourself to love yourself. Allow yourself to push aside those fears and “practicality thinking” so that you can dream those wild dreams.

It’s time we remember how to dream. Dream—so that you can have dreams to pursue.

—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.

Change Starts Today

It’s the job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish. — JRR Tolkien

red and green tree leaves on a sunny day
Photo by le vy on Pexels.com

Most people who pursue change in lifestyle, circumstance, mindset, and many other places come to a point of saying, “I’m tired of living the way I’m living now. I want to change.” I think this is an important milestone to reach. Today I will be talking about how to begin the journey of change. Change is important in life, as the seasons of our lives change continually and we must change with them. However, in some areas of our lives, we freeze out of fear or doubt and refuse to allow ourselves to grow. Therefore, in order to change your life and how you view yourself, you must realize you want to change. You have to come to a place where you say that you no longer want to deal with the hurt, anger, depression, bitterness, lack of self-confidence, and self-hate (to name a few) and you are looking for a way out.

After going through a dark period, I was looking for a way out. I was tired of living in the timid, self-hating, doubt-filled life I was living. During this period, I took a bold step to sign up for a Mission’s trip with my university. I’ve been on Mission’s trips before, but unlike other times, I did not foresee this trip happening. The only reason I decided to do it was because I knew I would regret not trying. And I was tired of regretting everything I did not do. So, I signed up even though I did not believe it would happen. I felt God challenging me to trust in Him and so I told Him, “If You want me to go, You have to provide the funds.”

Four months later, all the funds were in and I was preparing to go to Japan, a dream of mine for who knows how long.

While I could go on and on about how amazing the trip was and how much I loved Japan, I feel the most important point is that I CHOSE to try and signed up for the trip. And I didn’t regret it. Around this time, I was reading the book No Matter What: The Art of Going For It by Kevin Knox and I came across this quote that really stood out, “how you live today is how you’ll live everyday” (43). This quote blew my mind. Of course, if I want to make changes, the best time to do it is now. Change starts today.

If you want your life to change, you must start today. Set goals, make a plan, break it down, and start somewhere even if you don’t know where to start. I have wanted to teach English in Asia since I was thirteen years old. When I came back from Japan last year, I knew that’s what I wanted to do after graduation. But I had NO IDEA how to start. However, I knew I had to start somewhere. So, I started with looking up how to do it on Google and began looking into the requirements.

Now I’m here, preparing my Visa, have a signed contract for a job, and am preparing to leave in August. How crazy is that?

You want to know something even crazier? You can change your life and achieve your dreams too! I know you can. I believe in you. Because I’m doing something I thought I would never be able to do because I was too scared to do it. I thought I could not trust myself to go after the desires of my heart. But I can. And so can you.

So here is a quick summary of how I began my journey of changing my life:

How do you change your life?

  • Decide you want to change
  • Realize you have the power to take control of your life
  • Trust you are capable of changing and fully capable in achieving your dreams
  • Start today
  • Just GO for it

Remember, change starts today. Do not wait for an unknown tomorrow.

—The Adversity Rose–

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

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