I landed in South Korea last Sunday. I have now spent a full week in the country.... but not really because my fellow expats and I all had to attend a nine day orientation. This means that I have spent the last week surrounded by every conceivable flavor of English imaginable. I like to think of this as a precursor to the actual culture shock that is heading my way. Nothing is what is seems. A robot in South Africa is not R2D2 but is in fact, a traffic light. The Irish will fight you if you call a car park a parking lot. Tic tac toe is noughts and crosses and the rules of bingo are NOT standardized across the globe. A girl and I collided on the stair case because we were obeying the road laws of our own countries. A Canadian told me I was such a good sport because I handled some blatant American bashing with "class". Finally a British woman told me that a trump is a fart. (She snickered the entire time.)
So many differences and cultures yet we were all drawn to Korea. 239 guest English teachers= 239 different reasons for being there. I wanted some independent lady time. I wanted to feel freedom. I want to explore more. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. 239 personalities have as of today signed contracts (a grand total of six times) to become stewards of education for Korea's youth. For good or ill.
During a conversation today I made the comment that I don't actually like people. Which immediately prompted the question "If you don't like people why did you become a teacher?" I have often asked God this question myself. Anyone who knows me is fully aware that my favorite place is anywhere the people aren't. Put plainly I teach because this is where God put me. I have an unusual presence. It's not out of the ordinary for strangers to stop me in the store just so they can confess their entire life. Students who never said three words the entire year will sit next to me and tell me about their dismal home lives. I've been held up for nearly an hour by an elderly lady I delivered flowers to simply because she was lonely and I was the first person she saw that day. (She goosed Ronald Reagan by the way) For one reason or another broken people are drawn to me. God's not stupid. He knows that I'm most effective ministering to these people so He simply throws me in a target rich environment and then gives me the tools I need most to succeed.
The last sermon I heard in the states on the topic of gifts. Romans 12:1-8 speaks of how we followers of Christ; being one part of the Body have different gifts given to us. " Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." I teach because this is the assignment given to me. I didn't come to Korea for freedom or independent lady time. I teach because this is my God given burden and I embrace every moment of it. 239 different reasons for teaching English in Korea and this is mine.
My name is Arielle. (Not actually named after the mermaid, but a character from Thundar the Barbarian) I am an English teacher in South Korea.