Learning How to Live Abroad

I’ve just given birth guys. Yep, that’s right. I’ve given new life. To whom you ask? To myself. I have been born again and the labor complications of my own re-birth seem perpetual.

There have been countless moments where I still pinch myself to confirm that yes, indeed, this is all real life happening in real time. It’s been a week, and that surreal feeling hasn’t quite subsided. Maybe it never will. Maybe this is just a smidge of what living out a dream feels like.

A week ago, and all the months prior to that that week, I had no knowledge of what city I would be living in nor what school(s) I would be working for. Whenever people asked me about it,  my lack of an answer seemed to make them more uncomfortable than it actually made me. It was out of my control, so all I could do was expect the worst and hope for the best.

So where did I finally end up? Shincheorwon, the belly button of Korea. Smack dab in the middle, where North and South Korea meet. See the purple pin? That’s me! If I squint hard enough, I might just be able to see North Korean lands!


I’m still getting to know my little country town in Northern South Korea. Although I would have preferred to be placed in a metropolis, small-town livin’ does have its perks. Just from a first week’s impression, these are the positives I can appreciate:

  • The people are nice and welcoming
  • The students are sweet and respectful
  • A picturesque mountainous backdrop
  • No crazy traffic / crowds
  • I can walk/bike to work

Most importantly! A very tight knit expat community of NETs (Native English Teachers). The whole EPIK Cheorwon crew below!


I hope I’ll find more to add to this list as time progresses. To make it fair, I should list all the foreseeable negatives of being placed in the country, but life ain’t fair and it’s too damn early to start bitchin’. I’m trying to keep up the whole ‘positive vibes only’ attitude!

The challenges of living abroad aren’t going to come easy. Everything around me is new, different, foreign, awkward, uncomfortable, and downright scary sometimes. The one thing I can take comfort in is knowing that all these challenges will force me to grow. At some point, my physical surroundings will become familiar and I may even become less recognizable to myself. The goal is not only to learn how to survive abroad, but to thrive abroad.

I do have to admit that I feel like a clueless kid re-learning things like how to work the washing machine, how to act around people older than me, and how to make new friends. My eyes are wide open and I am attentive, observant, alert, and feeling more alive than ever. Like a newborn baby, I am exploring this new world through the senses.

I’m not just learning how to live abroad, I’m learning how to  l i v e  again.

Much more to come, wish you were here!


7 thoughts on “Learning How to Live Abroad

  1. Kimmy, so glad to hear things worked out in the end. I still love reading your blogs to see how you’re doing. Your quote is also dead on about moving along and away from what we are comfortable. I believe that no one experiences life without wandering around the world! I hope you are being safe and have fun exploring new lands.

    Hugs xx


    • Hey Tiffany! I hope things have warmed up in Boston by now! I am so glad I was able to spend some time with you before I left. If you ever find yourself coming to Korea or Asia, please let me know! Who knows, maybe we might even both end up back in Chicago! Keep in touch!


  2. This post reminded me a lot of my own excitement and confusion when I landed in Korea 16 years ago. Hang in there – it gets easier!

    I blog about expat life as well and am always looking to connect with people who blog about similar themes. Please visit me at bosmosis.wordpress.com sometime. Cheers, and good luck with your new life!


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