Aging and Growing Up

I spontaneously aged two years when I got to Korea. Here, rather than starting out at age 0 when a person is born, they start at age 1. On top of that, everyone gets a year older on the lunar new year, rather than on their respective birthdays. Given that the lunar new year is in mid January, and my birthday is in December, my age is actually inflated by two years in Korea for 11 months of the year.

I think I can now truly say that I’m a twenty-something. Emphasis on the “something”.

I have never in my life arrived somewhere and so immediately felt welcomed. On my first day here, one of my colleagues, who lives in my building, rang my doorbell (which scared the living daylights out of me, as unfamiliar and very loud noises in strange places tend to do) and brought me a cactus.

He helped me understand the temperature controls in my apartment, then invited me to hang out until my apartment warmed up. The floor-heating system is pretty efficient once it gets warmed up, but it takes a couple of hours to go from “off” to “warm”.

When I went home a couple of hours later, he sent me with a bagful of kitchen implements, which let me prepare and eat dinner in my house that evening as well as tonight.

Yesterday, he and a friend of his took me out for dinner, then helped me buy (and carry home) a load of groceries. Both of them speak fluent Korean, so their help in identifying particularly packaged things like different flavours of instant noodles and sauces was invaluable.

I certainly expected to eventually bond with my colleagues, over the course of months or even weeks, but actually having someone that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call a friend within the first week boggles my mind.

The battles are far from won, but I feel so much less alone than I expected to, and than I did even 48 hours ago. I do miss home a little bit, it’s tough not to be able to read the street signs, or the ingredient list for whatever food item I’m buying, but now that the jet lag is starting to fade, I’m back to starting another adventure, rather than feeling run-down and overwhelmed.

Sometimes it’s possible to just fight through that overwhelmed feeling, but sometimes you need a little help. And accepting it when it’s offered can be pretty tough. But it’s usually worth it.

One Response to “Aging and Growing Up”
  1. Caitlin says:

    That’s awesome! I’m glad things are going well so far 😀

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