Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spreading Myself Thin

I've been looking for a job unsuccessfully in San Jose since I got back from Korea in mid-December, so I widened my search to include the whole San Francisco Bay area.

But in the meantime, a friend from Korea asked me to go to Dubai, and I've wanted to try living there since I worked at Samsung C&T (which was the main contractor on the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world). So I'm also looking for a job in Dubai. Turns out I have more connections in the UAE than in the US. Funny how life works.

And, of course, I'm still trying to get back to Korea doing anything but teaching English. I really miss Seoul and all my friends there, and I miss the culture and food and everything but the weather, really.

I realized through all of this that I don't like living in my home country.
And I think my brother put his finger on it: I'm not special here, but I am overseas. In Korea, I'm white so I'm automatically special. Add to that that I can speak Korean and I have never taught kindergarteners English and I'm really special. In the US, I'm just that girl who likes South Korea a lot and is culturally out of touch.

I mess up English idioms and simple phrases like "have at it" and "go for it", instead of which I said "go at it" to tell my housemate he could have some of my sandwich meat. I don't know recent figures or events from the news or pop culture, and I'm not up-to-date on politics at all. I can barely remember how to drive and I hit my mother's car on a parking garage pillar, taking out the passenger's side turn signal. I am a terrible American. I'm just not good at being American. I never really was in the first place, and I think that's the root of why I left.

I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I'm a non-technical person in a family of engineers. I was the smart goody two-shoes in elementary school and a weirdo in middle school, then one of the inert crowd in high school. In college, I jumped from friend group to friend group and boyfriend to boyfriend and always got tired of everyone. Then I went to Korea and I didn't fit in, but I looked different and talked different and had a different passport so it was okay. I loved that. I was special. I didn't fit in- but in a good way. People loved talking to me and I didn't feel awkward because dammit I was special and whatever I said was interesting just because I said it in English or as a foreigner in Korean.

Here, I feel like all I can talk about is Korea and nobody cares because it's a small country and nobody will ever visit it. I want to share "my culture" by feeding my housemates Korean food and talking about cultural differences, but it's just strange because I'm not ACTUALLY Korean. I'm not Korean and I don't feel American, so what the hell am I?

That's why when my friend said, "come to Dubai" I was like, "I have nothing better to do so why not?" If I can get there, we'll have another name change on our hands and my blog will still be interesting. I will still be interesting. I will still be special. I will run and hide from my home country because I don't feel good here and I will be the new kid on the block again. I'll be a foreigner but it'll be okay because I'll actually be a foreigner.

I don't like feeling like a foreigner in my own country.

I don't like living in my own country.

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