Korea Notes : Week 2

Hey everyone, this is a little bit late – sorry!

Last week I caught a really bad flu on Monday night. I was stuck in bed with a hot fever and awful, suffocating congestion all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Getting sick away from home is one of the WORST things. Whenever I get sick, though, I’m always reminded of the power of rest and of slowing down.

The last month and a half or so have been extreme go-go-go and getting here has been the only time that I’ve been able to catch a break – even a forced one. Through the first eight days of being here, I was on overdrive. Travel days, then settling down, then hitting some of the city pretty hard, and having getting a visa, finding a job, stress about money, and new classes all on the top of mind put me out pretty quick.

This isn’t naught without lesson, however. I started to have more energy on Thursday and Friday. I was able to get out of my goshiwon, go for a walk, and go to class. After a good breakdown about not feeling productive enough on Friday, I had some much needed time to reflect on the last week.

A very close friend and mentor of mine constantly reminds me “Be kind to yourself.” Self-hate, chokingly high expectations for myself, and a need to justify worth with productivity are big parts to my mental health and self-image. So, this message is one that is always welcome and always seems to come at the perfect time. All of the changes that happened put me on square-one, and on a completely different gameboard. I really expected myself to hit the ground running and pick up in the same spot that I was at back in the States. Which… is really unrealistic. And honestly afforded little grace for me to feel like myself here.

Taking a mental reset was needed and refreshing. And one that I could use a lot. Even before coming here, I would have benefited so much from stopping the physical and mental constant busy-ness, project-pursuing, and wheel spinning.

So I’m trying now to prioritize myself by eating the best food, learning Korean, making friends, and just taking a deep breath in my life lungs. I’m not trying to force anything, I’m not trying to plan out my next 12 months to the T, nor am I fixating on making my trip the perfect life chapter. It is what it is, and I am present in it.

The weekend was much better than my weekdays. I went to a church that a friend recommended to me and got connected with some great people. We’ve gone out to eat twice now and I’m going to an illustrator’s fair this weekend with one of the life group members. Finding a new community is difficult, but I have a feeling I’ll be able to connect with these people. More on that in a different post.

I’ve felt a lot more at ease to enjoy myself and enjoy being here not worrying about everything. It is way easier said than done. But, I am realizing that there’s no pressure on me to perform here, and I’m continuing to release myself from that pressure every day.

Thanks for reading. I miss you all very much. Wish my parents “Happy 30th!” As they are celebrating in Hawai’i right now for it.

Blessings and much love,

Karl.

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