There are a couple of things that I should probably come clean about. Even though I have tried to take all of you along this journey with me, I have also tried to be conscious of my positivity. This means that anything that is too negative gets taken down and rewritten. Basically, I am finally being unleashed from the shackles of culture shock and beginning to turn back into the Sun from the Tellytubbies. However, I am not sure if this is due to my experiences in Korea so far or my inherent need to not infringe on other people's privacy or make them feel bad, but I have had a hard time asking questions that "really matter".
Example 1) The Shower.
First of all, the temperature control dial for the water is is in the room where my entire host family sleeps, and someone is almost always in there. I am not quite sure why, but I have never actually walked into that room. In addition, I feel so bad about the water bill that I have only been actually showering once a week... I am still sanitary, washing in the sink and such, but I feel like a huge burden, since it seems like my host family is not getting any money out of this... Basically I have been showering once a week in ice cold water because I do not want to make other people at all uncomfortable. Maybe I should do something about this...
Example 2) Work.
Volunteer work is never easy. However, when I signed up for this Quest, I was looking forward to working with children in some capacity... (blah blah blah, you already know this part of the story). The point is that I really was gearing up to do something about this, but then balked at the idea that I would make the rest of the people in my office feel bad as well as creating more work for the ICYE staff. Yet again, I am putting a pre- concieved idea of cultural taboo into the mouths of others, making me avoid doing something that could potentially improve my own quality of life.
Example 3) Food
I cannot really afford food. This sounds worse than it is. I mean, I have lots of snacks from my care packages and there is food in the apartment, but I cannot afford to really buy anything to eat, meaning that Wednesday nights before Korean class are pretty difficult... i just want a 12 inch Subway sandwich. Realistically speaking, I do eat a lot. However, I need all my muscle and body fat to stay with me because "Winter is Coming". Yesterday, I claimed that I was not hungry to my coworker and the volunteers for Model UN when they were all going to lunch, since I knew that there was no way I could afford wherever they were going. My coworker offered to pay, but I am also pretty aware that my department is not very rich, that any money spent helping me comes from somewhere else that is probably more important. Instead of going with them, I laid my head down on the freezing desk and took a nap, dreaming of dancing Hangeul (Korean written alphabet) characters. I wish that there was something that could be done about this, but know that there is really nothing that can be done.
The moral of this story is that I need to learn to follow through with things that will make my life easier. I mean, there is really no way for me to make any sort of positive change without standing up and saying something. I just hope that I am able to actually do something about some of these things, so that creepy men on the subway, and being unable to speak up about things passes. This was never really much of a problem in the USA... However, I know that there is nothing that can actually be done about the amount of money given to me by my project not being enough to buy enough food to keep me from being hungry (Seoul is freaking expensive!) or the fact that our office building is like sitting in a meat locker, so I hope that I can obtain the courage from deep inside myself to be the change I wish to see in my situation.
Love you all and hope you feel inspired to tackle something (today I plan on cleaning my room)
Everyday Acts of Activism