Sunday 7 April 2013

Life since I arrived home...

I've been back in the UK, after two years abroad in South Korea for seven months now. Since I came back, lots of things have happened, and yet I haven't felt the immediacy to write about them on my blog. Unlike whilst I was away, when I enjoyed reliving all my experiences through blog posts, I have had a vague notion to publish things on my blog, but just haven't 'got round to it'. I put this in quotation marks because this is not because I haven't had time, in all honesty I don't actually know why I haven't written as much as I did in Korea. Perhaps it's just because now I'm in my home country, things don't feel as special or exotic as they once did, perhaps because the purpose of this blog was to update my friends and family on my life; people who are now much more a part of places I go and things I do. I genuinely do wish to continue to write on here, but that desire doesn't seem to readily manifest itself into action.

Anyway, obviously I have found some time now, on this chilly almost springlike day, to sit down, write and hopefully schedule a few posts with all the pictures I've taken on different outings in the last few months.

So firstly; an update about what I'm doing... 

The first three months that I was back were hard. It was difficult to find any work (or even get an interview), fortnightly trips to the job centre were depressing and it was difficult to make any plans or think much further than a week or two ahead because my savings weren't going to last forever. I loved being able to catch up in person with friends, meeting new additions to my friends' families, eating food I'd been missing, revelling in all things Christmas. I managed to get some work for January working with NYU in London as an RA (chaperone/leader) for students visiting for a three week course. This was a fantastic time, finally having a job to do, meeting two girls who've become really great friends and living and working in London. I was SO LUCKY that after my three weeks was up, the student life team at NYUL asked me to stay on for the rest of the semester. I wasn't expecting this, even thought I hoped the three weeks might lead to more, I was really surprised and grateful for that opportunity. I've recently been offered a permanent position as a colleague is leaving so for now this job is permanent. 

So what do I do? I live and work in one of the NYUL halls of residence. There is a small team of us (resident life assistants) who maintain the smooth running on the halls, making sure paperwork etc is filled out, helping students if there are any other problems with housing, creating evens to get them involved with things in London and accompanying groups on trips around LDN and the UK. Yes, this is a fantastic job! Since January I've been to Oxford, Cambridge, on tours of the British Museum, Dover, Harry Potter studios, on the London Eye, watched Fulham Vs Wigan at Craven Cottage, the BBC and on various food related outings. 

A guided tour in the British Museum
Now I'm back, I've also started to settle into life back home; I travel back to Essex fairly regularly at the weekend, try and explore London as much as possible, I've started playing Netball once a week and recently enrolled on a Mandarin Chinese course at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). Things are going well, but don't think it all just fell into place. I didn't really suffer reverse culture shock, because I was ready to come back, and because I know that for now this is the right place for me to be. But it was hard. I have read many times how, once you return home, after working, living or travelling abroad, you have changed, whether you wanted/needed to or not, you are different and many things at home are exactly the same. Yes this is true, but what can make the transition harder is that also many things are very different. My friends and I are all older than when I was here before, many are married, settled down, pregnant or with a new little one in their life. This is fantastic but because of these changes, and the changes to yourself,  you must find your place at home again. If you've got good friends (as I have) they will help you to find that place. With effort from both sides, settling back in, whilst taking a bit of time, is possible and even an enjoyable experience.

Being in London makes finding Korean products possible!

Experiencing a game at Craven Cottage. Yes there's an actual cottage in the football ground.

Made two great friends in January

Got lost in the snow on our way to the Barbican

Picking up tickets to a game I couldn't attend: gutted.

Day trip to Oxford

I love walking by this building regularly

Working here has been excellent

Got myself enrolled here for Chinese lessons

Brilliant trip to the electric Cinema in Notting Hill. I had my own armchair, blanket, side table and lamp!

Visited BBC Television Centre before it closed!
And I've been cooking a lot since I got back!

Chinese crispy Pork
Toad in the hole

Hot cross bun and butter pudding

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