From the journal of CJ Haughey, August 19th 2015…
You never know what’s round the corner.
Just one week ago, I was trudging around the warehouse of my dad’s business on autopilot, lost in thought, going through the motions of the daily grind wondering, was this it?
During the few years I spent living in the southern hemisphere, I had fears that my joyous prodigal son moment would be gone in a blink and suddenly I would find myself stuck in a life I knew I wasn’t in love with.
The thought of being captured by a life I walked away from once before was terrifying, so when it started to become reality I began to question what purpose my travels and exploration actually had at all if, in the end, I was to wind up back at square one.
I showed up for work everyday, but my mind was elsewhere, thousands of miles away. I had done everything I could to get to Korea but it was starting to look like too little, too late. China was off the table and now all my eggs were in one basket. I held my breath and waited for a green light from EPIK but eventually it boiled down to just taking a gamble.
So, despite the fact that EPIK were still awaiting my documents, I jumped on a flight and headed to Korea, keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that there would be no hitches with the paperwork.
Now, here I am, along with 400 new prospects for the orientation training week in Daejeon. As we endure long days packed with gruelling lectures geared to turn us into credible teachers, I find myself fighting the weight of jetlag while striving to soak up as much wisdom as my bedraggled and bewildered mind can handle.
At the same time, I’m also trying to network with as many people as possible and embrace the falling avalanche of new culture before we’re all split up and sent into the wilderness to fend for ourselves.
Orientation is intense, but undeniably fun and I’m glad I took the gamble. Missing out on this would have meant missing out on the chance to meet so many awesome people, many of whom I hope to have lasting friendships during my time here in Korea and beyond.
With the constant cycle of lectures, cafeteria lunches and huge numbers of US and Canadian citizens present, it almost feels like I have joined an overseas American college.
But this is not Korea, not yet. Trapped in our little bubble at orientation, with our lectures and midnight curfew, the real Korea awaits us still.
I know things will be different in a week from now, just like they were very different last week.
But for now, I’m here, and now, it feels like I’m on the right path.