Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Blessing in Disguise

Around this time last year we got the news that Ryan had been laid off.  The timing (three weeks before our wedding day) was impeccable.  Just short of two months later the school year began and I found myself without a teaching job.  In six years Ryan and I haven’t been through a harder time.

A favorite expression of my dad’s is “a blessing in disguise.”  We didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what our negative situation would prove to be. 

A visit with Ryan’s aunt and uncle had us thinking about travel.  It also changed our lives.  

A former member of the Peace Corps, Ryan’s uncle had hoped to move his family to Morocco in 2001 but had been wary of doing so following 9/11.  Why not live and teach abroad?  He asked us.  No reason came to mind.

What we said to each other that day after leaving their house in Bend made all the sense in the world.  “If not now, when?”  We didn’t have good jobs or own a home.  Though these are rarely thought of as positive circumstances, they meant we were free to do what we wanted without losing anything.  Suddenly our negative situation became a positive one.

Before we knew it, we were on the phone with recruiting companies and interviewing with schools.  Shortly after that, we packed our bags and arrived in Busan on a chilly spring night.

What we have realized by being here is how free we truly are.

It is impossible not to get caught up in the daily “rat race” when you’re in the midst of it.  There are bills to pay, deadlines to make and appointments to keep.  The act of juggling work, a significant other, extended family and friends, all the while attempting to make time for yourself can prove nearly impossible.  At this point I can’t even imagining throwing kids in there too.  Someday.  I have so much respect for mothers.

While it fills our days and is rewarding and fun, our job is fairly low stress.  We have the same daily routine, don’t have many work commitments outside of our regular school hours, and are left to do mostly as we wish in our classes as long as we get through the required material.

The weekdays are about our adorable kiddies and the evenings and weekends are spent exploring our new home together.  While our co-workers have become our friends that we often do dinner and go out with on weekends, we spend most of our time with each other.  We go for walks, cook dinner together, and have endless talks about every topic imaginable.  We lean on each other, support one another, and have grown closer than ever.

Every day we are more grateful for the opportunity we were given to come here. 

We didn’t plan on this adventure, and a year ago today if someone had told me I’d be sitting in a small apartment in South Korea writing this blog entry I would have written them off as insane.

Since our arrival nearly five months ago, both Ryan and will I periodically stop what we’re doing, look at each other, and one or the other of us will profess aloud: “We live in Korea!”
While we miss our friends and family very much and can’t wait to see them when we return, at this point in our lives, we’re so glad we do.


  1. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I'm also a big believer in a "blessing in disguise." I mean after all, everything happens for a reason, right? :-) Dad taught us well, I think. Other gems he's passed on to me that have helped me in times of doubt: "Just have faith" and "Things have a way of working out." Oh and the last one (also from dad) pretty much sums up what you and Ryan are doing right now:
    "If not now, when?"

    I think what you guys are doing is amazing and wonderful and infinitely better than just settling down right away. You have all the time in the world to do that. And you know how I feel about living life to the fullest before kids. Because we all know that once you have children, life is over! (ha ha). In all seriousness, you guys are doing a great thing, living life's ultimate adventure. You will come away with wonderful stories and experiences and recipes and if nothing else, a much needed appreciation for kimchi!
    Love you guys!

  2. It is true.. I miss my best friend so much but I know I will have her back soon. I just hope it's for longer than the amount of time you will have been away... you and Ryan are very lucky and I couldn't be happier for the two of you :)