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homesick in korea? strange..
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radiothom9779



Joined: 25 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2003 5:08 pm    Post subject: homesick in korea? strange.. Reply with quote

Hello all - have been teaching in Daegu for 3 months now - have been away from the states for nearly a year (was living/volunteering in south africa and traveled through se asia a bit before coming here). Anyway, i've got nine months to go on my contract but all i can think of is, well, home. So strange because i've done an extensive amount of traveling solo throughout my relatively short life and this is the first time i've ever been really homesick.. it hasn't gone away yet though true, i have tolerable days. my hagwon isn't bad and i am convinced, compared to others, that i have a pretty decent deal.. pay is ok. but, it's just the loneliness and the fact that most foreigners here that i've met just aren't interesting or diverse in their hobbies/lifestyle besides sitting in a bar and drinking all of the time.. i've got nothing HORRIBLE to say about korea (mind the pollution and density) but it's just not home which i overwhelmingly miss.. any ideas? does this happen often? do i stick it out or cut my losses and head home??

would love some friendly advice..
cheers Very Happy
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Blue Flower



Joined: 23 Feb 2003
Location: The realisation that I only have to endure two more weeks in this filthy, perverted, nasty place!

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is exactly how I am feeling. I am calling it the 3 month blues. The novelty is wearing off, and I am starting to get homesick, and really weepy. I mean i burst into tears really easily. Though I have just bought a cd player, and it is going to help big time. Maybe it isn't that you have been in Korea for 3 months, but that you have been away from home for 15 months now? Maybe you could see about getting some anti-depressants if you start feeling really down. Or if you want to do something to get you out of the doldroms, PM me, and I am sure we can sort something out. Good luck!
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no fixed address



Joined: 20 May 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a big believer in the three month blues.

I don't know how this works in your case since you have been away from home for a lot longer than that. But myself and many others I know, well anyone I talk to about this, has experienced the same problem at the same time. Three months in. Perhaps it stems more from the fact that the novelty of your new life has worn off and becoming routine, than from needing to be 'home'

As for me, months 3-6 were hard ones. The time where I REALLY adjusted to the culture and environment. Since I came to terms with my new surroundings I've been lovin it and truely appreciating it as opposed to at first being infatuated and then being infuriated with it.

So my advice to you....its up to you.....but this is certainly a normal stage of the experience...good luck
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SeoulSearcher



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Location: Neither up nor down

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:12 am    Post subject: 3 months Reply with quote

3 months is where I'm at right now, and a couple of nights ago I had totally decided to go home...then I had a korean "moment" that turned it all around. A little boy was zooming past me and caught a glimpse, stopped dead in his tracks and bowed "annyong haseyo" in the cutest way-it wasn't much but it was enough to make me smile again.
I've decided to stay...
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been through it a few times myself.

IMHO it helps to get involved with something or someone. I have been the happiest and enjoyed this place the most when I have been doing something (other than drinking even though I love it) every night after work.

There are judo, taekwondo, hapkido, language institutes, and health clubs on every corner. And while some may cater to children, if you look you wil be able to find one that's a good fit. Additionally there are tons of clubs for just about any hobby imagineable (Koreans love clubs).

Get busy, learn something, get fit, study the language...and you'll start to enjoy the place more and miss home less (at least that's what I keep telling myself).

Another successful strategy is to read the newspapers from back home. Once you realize that things are pretty messed up there as well, it makes living here a bit more bearable.
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sparkx



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: thekimchipot.com

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel for you and believe me it will pass....but....

Quote:
Maybe you could see about getting some anti-depressants if you start feeling really down


I don't think screwing with the neurotransmitters in your brain is the answer. No offense there flower but it always boggles my mind when people give a suggestion like "just take some pills for your depression and in no time you'll feel super!"

Tough it out during this rocky period and you'll feel a million times more satisfied with yourself afterwards for not finding comfort in a pill.

Chemicals for contentment is for the weak. (For the non-mentally ill that is)
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Homer
Guest




PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to agree with sparkx on this one.

Poping pills is NOT the solution.
The 3 month thing is normal..it will also happen at 6 months.
Homesickeness is quite normal. What you need to do is get busy and do things that you like. I got into hiking myself and went hiking many week-ends when I felt the homesickness. That worked for me.
I don't think resorting to anti-depressents is a good idea at all. People reach for chemical solutions all too often these days.
I also agree that if you "tough it out" you will feel better afterwards for having done it. Its never a good idea to make important decisions when feeling especially down and out.
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eamo



Joined: 08 Mar 2003
Location: Shepherd's Bush, 1964.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course I don't know exactly why you and so many others feel homesick from time to time. I think you will always miss home to a degree.

Some good advice there about joining clubs and so on.

Maybe when people are homesick it's because they miss a sense of belonging to a community (e.g. family and friends). You've made a good move by becoming a poster on this forum. This is a community of sorts. You could always PM sympathetic people on this forum and build up a little community which might in time make you think less of home.

The 3 months thing is probably true. Like most people who come to Korea it's at about 3 months you realise that you're not on any exciting adventure anymore but just working and living.

Good luck and stick it out. It's worth it.
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wendysue



Joined: 17 Apr 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been here about two months and I've also found myself quite homesick, which I didn't expect given that I've never really been homesick while traveling or being abroad before.

I've had my days when I think about doing a midnight run asap (even though I like my hogwan) and days where a year seems manageable.

I think the key is having a social life...which I'm working on...anyone in Seoul who wants to meet for coffee or a book exchange, let me know!
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Duncan McCocinue



Joined: 17 May 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd go the other way and take all the pills you can get your hands on. After I get home and finish dinner most nights I follow this schedule.

First, I start smoking a blend of dried gimchi, banana peels, and grated plastic. I exhale and waste no time pounding back 6 shots of JD and 4 Tylonols. My roommate then hits me in the face with a fry pan and holds a cloth soaked in oven cleaner over my mouth and nose. Sit back and watch AFN until I go to bed. The time flies.

Do anything to help yourself deal with the place. Korea, and most other countries have thier charm, but, I find that few have as many uncharming traits.

But that's me not you.
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The King of Kwangju



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duncan McCocinue wrote:
After I get home and finish dinner most nights I follow this schedule...

This would get my vote for post of the week, if there were such a thing.
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Culture shock.

http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/CGuanipa/cultshok.htm

It really helped me to read about it. You can recoginize the symptoms and deal with them better. The above is a basic link, there is a ton of info on the subject.

The good news is that it will pass.
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sparkx



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: thekimchipot.com

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't think that culture shock is the problem here. She stated in her post that she was doing volunteer work in Africa and travelled throughout S.E Asia. I think this is a case of "lack-of-culture shock" (Sparkx, 2003). After coming from a country rich in culture where everything is vibrant, exciting and even dangerous, Korea can be a HUGE let down. I can relate.
A few years back I did work in the rainforests of South America. I had two of my best friends airlifted from the project; one with cholera and the other with severe leg infections from chigger bites. On a different project a whole group of volunteers were held at machette point and robbed for every dollar they had. Although this sounds horrific it made the whole experience that much more unbelievable and lifechanging afterwards.
Before coming to Korea I got myself prepared and put my game face on expecting a similar rollercoaster. Upon first arriving you see the crazy flashing lights, packed streets, drinking, etc, etc and you think "man this may be interesting." After a couple of months the superficiality of Korea starts to surface and you realize that there really is nothing more to it than the facade.
My advice - find a routine (going to a gym, playing guitar, reading, hanging with friends) and treat the experience like a year long business trip. The sooner you realize that Korea will not be some life altering, enlightening experience rich in cultural awareness the better. Count your money, learn new skills, enjoy your freedom and plan your attack for next year.
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can also be culture shock, and my advice wasn't only directed at the OP, a couple of others chimed in saying they had the "three month blues". Culture shock strikes after the settling in period. I wish I could find a better link, but the info is out there if you look.


The OP was "travelling" for a year and has been in Korea for three months straight, perfect time for culture shock to rear its head. Refer to the "stages" of culture shock.

Your advice was solid though, pretty much the prescription for culture shock.

The more you read about it and understand the symptons, the better you'll be able to deal with it. To read up on it was the "friendly advice" the OP asked for.


Ohhh, and Bulsajo was spot on. That was good satire Duncan Cool
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Circus Monkey



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: In my coconut tree

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you pass the "blues" phase your journey to the dark side will be stronger and more compelling...my young padawan.
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