Saturday, September 5, 2009

School Frustrations and Big Decisions

I finally had it worked out. I was changing my major to International Studies and Psychology instead of Asian Studies and Psychology, and I was registered for 16 credits of online courses for the fall. I was so caught up in making that work and living my life that I forgot to tell my parents about the tuition deadline. Well, it passed, and I was disenrolled. I was told that I need to re-register, a new bill would be sent out, and everything would be fine. Well I tried, but two of the classes I was in are now full so I have 10 credits; not a full time student load. I emailed the professors for overrides, but they won't give them to me. On top of that, I can't access any of my courses, so although I'm enrolled I can't actually see my classes. I don't know what textbooks I need and it takes a long time and a lot of money to get them to Korea. So I have too few credits, no other choices, no time, no books, and I can't see my classes! What the hell is going on here?!? I have spent so many late nights making this work and it's all falling apart. If I drop out of school I have no future and student loans to pay back that I don't have the money for. I'm stuck with no choice but to attend school and no way to do so. Where do I go from here???????!!!!!!

I felt better a few days after my last post, and then all of these school problems fell on me, so I fell even harder. On top of that, I got really sick again. I was vomiting, had a fever and diarrhea, I hurt from my head to my toes, and had no energy. My boyfriend came all the way from his home across the city (2 hours) to take me to the hospital (hospitals here are somewhere between a hospital and a family practitioner). Apparently it was a flu, and although the chances of it being H1N1 were almost nonexistent, the doctor told me to stay home for one week. No work, no seeing friends, nothing. Well, I felt mostly better the next day but I had already told everyone I couldn't go out for a week. It was probably another case of food poisoning, but just in case I'm taking the week off anyway. I need a rest because of all this stress. I was so relieved when I finally had all of my classes worked out, and then...... back to square one.

I have a plane ticket back to Detroit for December 25, 2009. I was planning to return to Korea in January, but if my last semester of school will be as stressful as this one online, maybe I should just suck it up and return to East Lansing for four months. I could live in Owen Hall, where the rooms I once thought were so small are more than twice the size of where I live now. I could keep tutoring English, and many Koreans and other international students live in Owen Hall, so I could avoid all of the traveling from student to student that caused me so much stress last year and causes me some stress now. Also, with my Korean language skills I would be more of a commodity and could charge higher rates. After living in/around Seoul for almost half a year, I'm used to public transportation and walking long distances, so by living on campus I wouldn't feel the need for a car. I do miss some of the places around Michigan State University. Bubble Island, Taco Bell, Udon Sushi, the Red Cedar River, Gumby's Pizza, etc.. I miss my friends, too. And, living in Owen Hall, I could keep using Korean as much as I wanted, and there is a piano so I could still practice and compose music.

That's about four months away. Four months is forever; four months is the blink of an eye; four months can and has changed everything. I have a life in Korea. I have friends, I have a boyfriend whom I love, and I have confidence. I feel like I belong here. Maybe four months in Michigan would tell me if Korea is my home. Four months in Michigan, one month in Missouri with my grandfather, maybe some time in Iowa with my other grandparents, and if my brother moves to California, some time there. Six months in America. Five months in Korea has told me that nowhere in America is my home because I don't long for it at all. Will six months in America after nine months in Korea make me long for it? When I decided to leave America, I couldn't wait to leave. Now that I'm deciding to go back to America, I'm dreading that day. One thing that I've discovered about myself through all of this is that I'm impulsive in following my heart, but I'm also measured when it comes to following through. In weighing the stress of completing school while living in Korea vs. completing one last semester in America, I can swallow my pride and admit my defeat. I have to go back to East Lansing for the Spring semester.

I think I've already found the direction I was looking for in coming here. As I mentioned before, there's a unique business that I want to open here. I won't tell you what because I don't want anyone stealing my idea, but I think I'm uniquely suited for it, and I have a passion for it. After a few years, I want to marry a Korean guy and have adorable mixed children who speak Korean and English, and I want to raise them in Korea where it's safe and they will have a culture they can be proud of. I want to speak Korean like a native and write songs in Korean and sing them while playing piano for my friends and family. I want to live on my own schedule so I can wake up in the afternoons and work hard late at night and into the early morning, like my body is comfortable with. I want to inspire people and be inspired by them, and I feel like I have a purpose when I'm in Korea. In America, I'm lost- a nameless face in a crowd of other lost people. I like just about everything about Korea better. The food tastes better. The music is better. The fashion is better. The average person is nicer. It's safer. The environment just fits me better. I know my father hates coming to Korea, and I'm sure my mother and brother would, too. Most of my non-Korean friends would think Kore is cool and interesting as an exotic place to visit a friend, but would never imagine living here.

I will view returning to America not as a defeat, but a test of my conviction. If I still have the same dream when I'm on the other side of the world, then I know that these nine months here are only the beginning. If I find some other path, I'll know that coming to Korea was 100% worth it anyway.

I'll keep working out this semester online (probably ending with bad grades), and register for courses on-campus for the Spring semester (hopefully ending with good grades for the first time since Spring 2007). I'm sorry to everyone in Korea who expected me to come back in January, but you'll have to wait six months for me instead of one. I'm sorry to everyone in America, but I'm not coming back for you. I will be happy to see you, but I will leave again like I did in March. Everyone has their own place, and don't ask me why, but I think mine is here in Korea.

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