Sunday, April 24, 2011

Citizens of the World

I work with eight other teachers. Two are dudes, six are girls. Aside from one of the guys (who's a bit older), everyone is in their mid-twenties. I'm the second-youngest person.

The co-worker situation is as good as I could have hoped. Everyone has been really supportive. Whenever I have a question (all the fucking time), they generously pause their day to answer it. We hang out on weekends. It's a really solid crew.
Both guys are Canadian. The girls hail almost exclusively from the midwest. One is from Wisconsin, one is from Iowa, two (two!) are from South Dakota, one is from Illinois, and one is from Washington. 

One thing that has surprised me is how much travel experience everyone has. I'm definitely the odd man out there. The girls in particular, they are Carmen Sandiegos. They've all lived abroad before, and they're all going somewhere else after this. Korea is just one stop on the way.

It's the same with most of the foreigners I've met. This shit is old hat to them. At the VERY least everyone studied abroad in college, and a good number have previous international work experience. My "I went to Ireland when I was ten" story isn't dropping any panties.

It's not a big deal, but it gives us different perspectives. I see everything in this country squarely through the eyes of an American. I like it here, and I'm doing what I can to embrace and absorb the culture. But home is home. I feel bound to America the way someone who just jumped in the air feels bound to the floor. Coming back is part of the plan. 

Most people here aren't like that. Home is where they're from, and they speak fondly of it. But the connection ends there. They're travelers now, and whatever tug they might have felt from home at first is gone. They jumped in the air and floated away.

This isn't all that surprising, I know ("All the travelers in this foreign country seem to enjoy foreign countries. CURIOUS."). I guess I just expected to run into a few more people like me, people with "eh why not" as their guiding principle. I approach my time here as kind of a lark, because it's so impermanent, and so out of character for me to try something like this. For most other foreigners, it's neither of these things.  I'm a streaker, they're nudists. 

There is, of course, the possibility that I'm a traveler too and just haven't realized it yet. I am apparently the type of person who will willingly move to another country for a year, and I didn't know that about myself a year ago. It's early in my stay. One of my co-workers just signed on for another year, and she told me that two months in she was dead set on going home too. Things change, you never know, and so on and so on.

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