The still moments rush by until my launch to South Korea; in 19 days I leave for an exciting 13-month adventure in teaching and adapting to a new life of pork buns, world-class wifi connectivity, and soju (a rice-based alcohol). I’ve traveled and lived abroad, but never for longer than a year and never before in Asia. For the first six weeks of my Fulbright ETA experience we’ll be staying at Jungwon University in Goesan, about 70 miles from Seoul. This time will serve as a language and teaching orientation until we go our separate ways to teach at various elementary, middle, and high schools all over the country.
I’ve already retrieved my A-3 Visa from the Korean Consulate at NBC Tower in Chicago, an agreement visa for cooperative programs like Fulbright. I’m finalizing details regarding packing and shipping things over there, but otherwise my mind is already preparing to be half a world away from suburban Illinois. Part of that is realizing my 6’4″ frame will tower over my students and anyone I meet on the street even more than I’m accustomed to here. Low-key my goal for the year is to see how many people I can convince that I’m Gordon Hayward (or his brother), and that after my stint in Korea I’ll be returning to pursue my career in the NBA. Well that’s not entirely true. My real dream is to become the first white K-pop star (I guess you could say the token), though any additional income may break my Fulbright contract and the stipulations of my visa. Well, a guy can dream.
Recently I’ve had a lot of time to prepare for my upcoming journey and also find some additional ways to escape. Most notably, I spent eight days in Cuba and then four days in Miami before heading home. Cuba is beautiful and my travel buddy Smitha and I had an exhilarating time familiarizing ourselves with a country that’s been closed to the U.S. since my grandparents honeymooned there in the early 1950’s. We were able to meet up with my friend Milko who is attending La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV an hour outside of La Habana. There were beach trips, days of heat and wandering city streets, and days of mojitos. The trip was eye-opening, refreshing, and emotionally draining (I have many thoughts on Cuba and right now I’m not sure if they’re organized enough to write about).
In the wake of my second friend wedding, I wanted to introduce this new site as a means for me to communicate while I’m in Korea and for many adventures to come. I will post travel updates, quirks and snapshots of life in Korea, and personal writing projects I’m working on.
There are a lot of unknowns moving forward, but those are the enigmatic opportunities that excite me the most.