2013. Already? It’s really hard to believe. I’m excited about what this year holds… even if I am a bit terrified. I’m starting that whole wind-down, meet all my friends, pack up 5 1/2 years of my life stage of my time here in Korea. When I booked my one-way ticket “home” in August after returning from Myanmar (Burma), I was thrilled. I guess now that I’m face to face with leaving the place that has become home, it’s hard to deal with. I meet friends and inevitably one of us, or both, end up in tears. Crying is exhausting. Packing is exhausting. Preparing my dog for this long flight is exhausting. haha
I have a 16 hour layover in Detroit so I’ve booked myself a very nice (but too expensive) room at the Westin. After booking and paying, I immediately felt regret but it’s non-refundable so I’m stuck. haha After a week home I want to drive up to Toronto to meet up with some lovely Canadian friends and then pop down to NYC and Philadelphia on my way back to Ohio. I think it’ll be fun and help shift my focus from being utterly gutted about being back in the U.S. for an indefinite amount of time. Oh, dear.
I’ll end this with a disgustingly ugly photo of my pup. hahahahaha
I’m the worst at maintaining a blog so I’m going to attempt to do better at that next year. I’ve ordered some GRE study materials so now the path of applying to nurse-midwifery schools seems real and not so far away. I can’t believe I’m down to my final two months (exactly) in Seoul. I still falter between excitement and terror.
I have a lot of things I’d like to accomplish in 2013. I want to actually hold myself accountable for my goals this year, as opposed to the past.
1. Lose weight. This one is the most important for me as it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I do great and then fall off the wagon, but rather than just getting back to it, I tend to get derailed for several, several months. I have an exact goal in mind but don’t wish to make it public here.
2. Get accepted in UC’s MA Nurse-Midwifery program. I’m not telling my mom about this because it would create some problems, me thinks, but my dad vaguely knows about it. My aunt, my sister and my friends know and are incredibly supportive. Until I’m accepted and the financials are worked out, my mom will not be in the know. It’s just better than way.
3. Get an apartment. If I can, I’d like to live alone but until I finish the nursing portion of the program, it’s probably smarter for me to have roommates. This one is already lined up so I’m not sure worried.
4. Get a job. After making such good money teaching in Korea, it’s going to be hard to go back to a job with a low salary but it has to be done. Two years. That’s all I need til I’ll be a registered nurse and working on my midwifery coursework.
5. Date more. I’ve spent 5 1/2 years dating Koreans who, in the end, despite being hot, have families who hate foreigners or turn out to be the biggest d-bags. I don’t know what it means to date Americans because I haven’t done it since I was in undergrad and that has been quite a while. I’m scared of dating Americans, to be honest. haha
I hope happy holidays were had by all and wish everyone a happy New Year!
I’m down to fourteen weeks… (14!!!) until I leave Korea. It’s complete insanity at this point. I’m going to send off my application to take some pre-req classes online so I can get something done before coming home. Well, get it started. I need to fully check the price per course. I might just be taking one for this spring semester. Anatomy and Physiology I probably.
I also need to start studying from the GRE this weekend. What a nightmare.
After changing my thesis topic from analyzing Indonesia’s midwife training program to writing about the impact of Western legislation on reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Egypt and Ethiopia, I have been struggling. I finished all of my courses last fall semester. One year ago. Due to some circumstances at the time that were beyond my control, I decided to work an extra semester on my thesis.
Starting a new, full-time job made it more difficult than I had imagined and I didn’t finish my thesis last semester so I decided to finish it in the fall semester (current semester) and graduate in February (graduation ceremonies are two months after the semester ends here in Korea). Over the summer is when I decided to change my topic. Unfortunately, I spent too much time collecting resources and my advisor was out of the country so I got an incredibly late start to actually writing.
My sister came for a month and just left this week and that was a full month of precious writing time. That leaves me now with seven days to write about 9,000 more words. I’ve reached the point where I just can’t do it anymore. Work is incredibly stressful right now and I have to spend time outside of my working hours working on stuff. I can’t afford to lose my job since I’m moving back to the US in a few months so the only thing that can give is my thesis.
This brings me to a realization. I will not graduate. I cannot stay another semester. I feel my time is Korea is done despite how much I love this country. I’ve been here for more than five years already and this degree will not help me reach my goals. So that is that. I’m going to put my efforts into studying for the GRE because now that I won’t have finished my Master’s here, I will no longer be eligible for the GRE waiver.
My last 4 months in Korea will be much more relaxed now (minus the hell that is my job) and I will, instead, fill my time with reading and studying for the GRE. haha
I’ve always known I wanted to do some sort of work internationally but I never knew how to go about it, even after I had already decided to start graduate school for International Development here in Korea. Then a few years ago I read “Half the Sky” and though it may be cliche to say, it changed my life.
The desire to become a midwife started then but it was something I didn’t think I could handle. Edna Adan Ismail is my hero. Plain and simple. What she is doing is what I always envisioned myself doing. Grandiose dreams, eh?
Until now, things that I have planned have either haven’t come to fruition or didn’t turn out as I planned.
I guess this is true for many people but it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part. After finishing undergrad, I started a job with a social services organization working with severely abused children. I thought it may be a better system than adult mental health but it turned out to be equally flawed and I didn’t want to continue in a field where I felt I was working for an organization that wasn’t truly helping. I applied to the Peace Corps (something I’d dreamed of since middle school) and got my placement. Shortly before my departure date, I still hadn’t sold my car and wasn’t able to go (since you don’t get paid for the Peace Corps).
Being completely distraught, a friend of mine suggested moving to South Korea to teach for a year, like she had done, just to get away. I eventually decided to do it and have been here since 2007. In that time, I decided to start a Master’s program here in Seoul. I knew the university had a great reputation so I assumed the program would be the same. I decided to major in International Development and Cooperation hoping that going to school abroad, speaking a second language and living in another country for several years (on top of an internship at a human rights NGO) would help to open some doors. Unfortunately, the program had many flaws and didn’t open any doors.
I found that being a foreigner in Korea, even one who speaks an intermediate level of Korean, could not get a job with an NGO here. Not even UN organizations would give me an internship simply because I was not Korean (or not from a developing Asian country). At this moment in time, I’m still finishing my thesis. It is due in a couple weeks and I have written 11 very mediocre pages. While I am passionate about my thesis topic (female genital mutilation), I’m not passionate about the program so I am not sure if I will actually finish my thesis so I can defend it and graduate or not.
A Bachelor’s in Psychology with a certificate in French language. A Master’s in International Development and Cooperation from a top university in South Korea. And now… the path to becoming a midwife.
The decision to become a midwife was not an easy one. I’ve just turned 28 years old and have already spent so much on schooling and becoming a midwife is no cheap or easy undertaking but it is one that I feel I must make. My passion lies in human rights… specifically women’s rights and women’s health. Rather than work at an international NGO (hopefully) with a paltry salary begging donors for money or doing research, I’ve decided to take a more hands-on approach.
As I wrap up my last few months (of more than 5 years) as an expat in Seoul, South Korea and prepare for my imminent return to the United States, I’ve decided to start writing.