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Lifers and ESL long-timers...how do you do it back home?
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goreality



Joined: 09 Jul 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you find it hard after one year, I see why you are asking this question. The only people I used to hang around with back home who I can related my Korean experiences with are the ones who have either lived abroad or were born abroad. I don't bother trying to explain many things to the average person who has stuck within 100 miles of their hometown all their life except for a few vacations and maybe a semester of school.
The best way to deal with it is avoid talking about it.
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think someone else said it on here before. Nowadays it's pretty easy to keep up with what's going on in your own country enough to fit in with conversations back home if you want. When I first got into TEFL with no internet, no foreign newspapers even or any English speaking programmes on TV you felt a lot more like you'd stumbled out of the jungle with a year's growth of beard every time you went home
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
I think someone else said it on here before. Nowadays it's pretty easy to keep up with what's going on in your own country enough to fit in with conversations back home if you want. When I first got into TEFL with no internet, no foreign newspapers even or any English speaking programmes on TV you felt a lot more like you'd stumbled out of the jungle with a year's growth of beard every time you went home


This. I am always amazed how easy it is to fit in when I go home. My friends are great, man I miss them. I have been overseas almost seven years and still easy to fit in back home. I have went home to visit 11 times in the last 6 1/2 years but not this year we have a new baby.
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I'm With You



Joined: 01 Sep 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No_hite_pls wrote:
edwardcatflap wrote:
I think someone else said it on here before. Nowadays it's pretty easy to keep up with what's going on in your own country enough to fit in with conversations back home if you want. When I first got into TEFL with no internet, no foreign newspapers even or any English speaking programmes on TV you felt a lot more like you'd stumbled out of the jungle with a year's growth of beard every time you went home


This. I am always amazed how easy it is to fit in when I go home. My friends are great, man I miss them. I have been overseas almost seven years and still easy to fit in back home. I have went home to visit 11 times in the last 6 1/2 years but not this year we have a new baby.


I'm amazed that you fit in so easy at home after being away for so many years. Good for you.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
I think someone else said it on here before. Nowadays it's pretty easy to keep up with what's going on in your own country enough to fit in with conversations back home if you want. When I first got into TEFL with no internet, no foreign newspapers even or any English speaking programmes on TV you felt a lot more like you'd stumbled out of the jungle with a year's growth of beard every time you went home


I agree with this. Sure, email was alright... but now with facebook - ya almost don't have to go home. Not everyone is active online, but there are enough people (/friends) to keep a person informed and updated about stuff back home - whether ya want it or not. lol
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happiness



Joined: 04 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

13 years here, 17 abroad.

But when I go home, I never speak of here, beyond "its cool."

But that said, with the internet and google maps, you can take 10 minutes and find out what is the latest restaurant/hangout in the area, and ppl will be amazed you know about it. Then youll just go.....

We have facebook, and my friends like the wacky pics i upload, but i dont talk about them too much, i just show them.

I find my perspective from living overseas ties into US politics quite nicely.

Luckily Im a musician, so all my friendships are based around music and plugging into my amps.

With the internet, facebook, youtube, and smartphones, its almost like you didnt leave home nowadays, except for physically being there, and eating the food.

Korea has ALOT of stuff for foreigners nowadays, 15 years ago, it WAS a different place, but it was fun then too Smile
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Mr. BlackCat



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Location: Insert witty remark HERE

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I never had problems catching up back home because I never really fit in there, either. I never wanted to get married or have kids, I didn`t care about a car or a even a nice home. I`m not trying to say that I`m better than others, neither am I saying that I`m a social misfit (other than by choice of course). I just never had the same goals or desires as those around me, for the most part.

Having said that, I have childhood friends `back home` who I can jump right back into with when I go back. These guys and gals are cool, and while we don`t always keep up to date we can grab a beer on a moment`s notice when I get back and talk about anything like we`re 8, 12, 15 again. I have university friends all over North America and Europe and when we see each other after years, it`s always fun, too. I left Korea for a while and when I came back we had galbi and soju just like any other Friday night.

Obviously, I`ve grown apart from some people over the years. That`s inevitable. But remember, you don`t just have to stay interesting, you have to stay interested. I don`t consider my life much more interesting than others`. I find that some people, after living abroad, think they`re the poop and too good for the normals. I don`t want to have kids, but I`m interested in how the guy I knew since 3rd grade deals with his (to an extent). I`m interested in the process of buying a house even though I will likely never go through it. I think you can judge a lot about a person by the company they keep, so if you think your old friends are lame maybe you`re lame too. Moving to Korea for a year didn`t change that. Life is much bigger than my ridiculously small experience, so I`m always interested in the experience of others. As long as they keep an open mind, too, of course. My advice would be to stop trying to find reasons why you`re so different from your old buddies, and focus on what makes you the same. And celebrate it. Despite what you might think, you`re not the only one who has changed over the years.

Man, I love going back and shooting some Wii hoops with my buds while we down cheap beer and talk hockey and how high the snow drifts were this past winter. Broke three shovels! In one morning! Haha, love it. Don`t get that here. Just change shovels to umbrellas and winter in Canada to summer in Korea and the stories are basically the same.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thoroughly enjoy it when I get back for a visit. Part of that is because I can go for an entire month while drawing full salary, and I go at the best time of the year here. I meet family and friends, I relax, I take a fishing trip or a jaunt somewhere fun, and I never have to sweat the coin.

I do remember my first visit or two back when I had only lived abroad for 3 or 4 years. There was a tendency ypto want to tell people how things were done or seen in such n such country. Not at all now. Just quality time before I head back to Korea, where my home really is now.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vacation is great, because you can spend some cash and do it in style. I rent a nice car, pick up my friends, and go to a steak restaurant. Really vacations I eat a lot; especially greek food, and those breakfast restaurants. Normal stuff - that isn't normal here.
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Landros



Joined: 19 Oct 2007

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hehe 11 times in 6 years. I went back 3 times in 15 years. First time I returned with wife an son. Second time parents moved to different city. Third time to different province. Last time I visited they were living in Florida!

I remember the drive from the Airport mostly. Just the landscape is different. Now things are much different but yeah funny to see things on TV and how people do things. Especially relatives.

A lot of similar conversations. "How are you liking it over there. Great to see you type of thing". Enjoy the atmosphere.
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fustiancorduroy



Joined: 12 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last spring, I went to the US, to "home", for the first time since coming to Korea in 2006, meaning that I was gone for nearly six years. I didn't have too much trouble fitting in or anything. I wasn't freaked out by having everybody around me speak English or being able to eat all the foods I ate when I was growing up. On the contrary, everything was eerily familiar and, frankly, a bit dull.

In a way, I felt sorry for most of the people I encountered, because I knew that they had spent most of their lives living in or around my hometown. There's a big, exciting world out there, but few of them have or will ever see it. For instance, I told one of the tellers at my local bank that I was going to New York City for the first time on the following day. Her response was that New York sounds exciting and that she'd be thrilled to go, but hasn't had the chance to. For me, going to New York was no big deal. I mean, it's just a two hour flight and in the same country! Not to mention, I've been to dozens of other big cities and, in a way, New York is very similar to them. But for the teller and, really, most people, a trip to New York would be a trip of a lifetime.

I will say, though, that a few people I encountered in addition to my family seemed at least somewhat interested in my life overseas. Just after leaving the airport during the drive back to my parent's house, I stopped by a drug store. The cashier noticed the Korean Won in my wallet and asked me about them, saying they looked "neat." I told her a bit about living in Korea, and she asked me a few questions about it. For her, someone like me is completely out of the ordinary, in a good way.

In any case, visiting America was nice, but I don't think I'm going to live there again anytime soon, but maybe a few years down the road, I'll consider relocating there.
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fustiancorduroy wrote:
I will say, though, that a few people I encountered in addition to my family seemed at least somewhat interested in my life overseas. Just after leaving the airport during the drive back to my parent's house, I stopped by a drug store. The cashier noticed the Korean Won in my wallet and asked me about them, saying they looked "neat." I told her a bit about living in Korea, and she asked me a few questions about it. For her, someone like me is completely out of the ordinary, in a good way.


Perhaps it's because I grew up on the periphery of the Northeast Corridor megalopolis, but I find this rather odd. Everyone I grew up with has traveled up and down the East Coast, having visited Florida, DC, etc., and all have visited Boston, New York, and Montreal with some frequency (between two and five hours driving away). When I see my friends from middle school, we've all moved elsewhere; for most of us, there was never really any question of staying. And these kids aren't well off, they're the children of truck drivers and carpenters. Perhaps it's simply that the rural nature of the community essentially mandates that the young must leave, but I don't think the community in which I grew up is particularly unique, at least not for the Northeast. When you guys go home to that, I can understand why you might want to stay in Korea.

Landros wrote:
hehe 11 times in 6 years.


This does seem excessive.
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joelove



Joined: 12 May 2011

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote: "They have no real understanding of the world"

Well, who does?
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DC in Suwon



Joined: 14 Dec 2008

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing like living overseas for longer than a year and then going home to judge everyone for not knowing the experiences and lives of those who have been an expat. Rolling Eyes

I don't know. I've been home twice and it has been great both times. I have seen lots of friends and family and we share quality time together. I'll tell them some interesting/crazy stories about my travels and if they ask questions I'm happy to answer.

I did really enjoy the reverse culture shock. Going to the mall and seeing how it changed so much and how all the little teenagers look like children and dress like punks...I understand so much now about how I must have seemed to others hahaha.

Like someone mentioned, just enjoy your time with the people close to you. It shouldn't matter about their life experiences.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fustiancorduroy wrote:
Last spring, I went to the US, to "home", for the first time since coming to Korea in 2006, meaning that I was gone for nearly six years.

How do your parents feel about you visiting them only once every six years? They spent so much time, effort, and money raising you for at least the first 18 years of your life, so I think you owe it to them to see them more frequently. Just my opinion, but I think to do otherwise is unethical.

I remember reading a post by a user named popeye4u (or something like that) who said he hadn't been home in seven years, and I remember being really freaked out by that. I wondered if he was estranged from his family or if he had no friends back home and his parents were dead.

Actually, I've seen quite a few posts by posters talking about how long it has been since they've been home (almost as if they are bragging). To me, something about that seems pathetic and sad.

I get homesick quite a lot, and I sometimes think about what I've missed out on and lost by being away from where I grew up. Have a gained stuff from being overseas? Yes. Does it outweigh what I have lost? I'm not sure.
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