Archive for the ‘Life Musings’ Category

(image from The Coveted)

That is the question…

As some of you may be aware, native English speakers are somewhat a commodity in the international education world. Public and private schools in countries like China and Japan, even Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia are looking for bachelors degree educated English speakers to teach classes for elementary school kids on up (check out Dave’s ESL Cafe to see the variety of job postings!).

South Korea is a particularly enticing option for people hoping to teach overseas because the pay is good (even offering a month severance for a completed one year contract) and the cost of living is relatively low. Teachers are expected to have some experience with children but are often not required to have any kind of Education degree — although this type of experience does tend to reflect itself as an increase your monthly salary. Getting a Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESL) certificate is an excellent way to make yourself more competitive and increase your salary as well.

The best perk of South Korea compared to other places is that most schools around the country provide an apartment to their foreign teachers — and couples are often able to live together. Needless to say, this allows someone to do much in the way of either paying off student/credit card debt or saving money for further travel and investment all while having an amazing overseas living experience.

I have a couple of close friends who successfully completed a year in Busan and then used their savings to spend six months traveling before returning to the States. As I write this, I have one friend, Chris, who is loving Seoul so much he’s just begun his second year contract, and two other friends who are just beginning their first year and finding it challenging but exciting (here’s Elena’s account!).

As you may have guessed by now, I am currently in the middle of this huge decision: is teaching overseas in my destiny?! I long to go for a multitude of reasons, as does Rami. However, I have several distinct challenges mucking up my decision to teach in Seoul (the New York City of SOK).

  1. I adopted two kitties last summer. They will be a year old in April and I love the little punks so much I can not bear to think of our bond being interrupted by a year+ of separation so soon! Not to mention, who will babysit?!
  2. Can I justify keeping myself out of the US design job market for that long? If I spend a year doing only self-initiated work how will it contribute to making me a competitive professional when I come home? Is it possible I can find some professional communication arts or web development work while I’m over there? Maybe I’ll discover design is not nearly as satisfying as teaching? Who knows…
  3. Perhaps more importantly, can I really justify NOT going if it means paying off some debt burden, having an amazing teaching experience, traveling the world, and still coming home with upwards of $10k in savings — all before I turn 30? 🙂

What would you do!?

Some of my favorite links concerning Seoul around the web so far:
Street Food Scenes from Seoul via Baking Bites
Heart and Seoul via The Coveted
Seoul Transforms a Freeway Into A River and Public Park via Inhabitat
Seoul Ranks #1 in terms of Internet Connectivity?! via Daily Wireless
Seoul Design Festival
Bring Pets to South Korea (perhaps my kittahs and I need not be separated after all?)

UPDATE: I do believe I may be attempting the “insane;” plans have been put into place to take the kitties overseas. Surely this will serve to make them the envy of their playmates, as they will emit worldliness with every swish of their tails.

(the kittahs: Egon and Gustav)


Greetings world! I am here to face the truth… I am an example of your average 21st century twenty-something would-be professional who has no idea what exactly she is meant to do with her life.

Like so many reasonably intelligent individuals, I thought I was doing the right thing by holding off on attending college for a few years until I figured “it”out. Then I decided that it might be easier to figure “it” out if I attended some classes. Then “it” became “its” as I adopted three majors and took enough extra curricular courses that I should have been awarded a second degree for pure enthusiasm. Finally, six years and a few tens of thousands of dollars in debt later, having finally graduated with a degree in graphic design and honors distinction to boot, I am now closer to age 30 than 20 and I feel that I should finally have figured “it” out.

But no.

I mean yes, I do desire to set sexy pages of type, to problem solve my way to compelling identity solutions, to adobe-hot-key my way to stunning digital compositions, and to illustrate evocative posters and book covers and information graphics and so on. I do find gadgets almost unbearably enticing, art and fashion and architecture are things I can’t seem to get enough of, and discovering quality music and film and television is a long-term addiction of mine.

But I also long to spend my hours in a more analog manner. I dream of trying out new recipes daily, of baking and decorating beautiful cupcakes, of designing and sewing adorable softies and painting luscious abstract canvases with an actual brush and tube of golden acrylic!

I long to keep my nose in a book all day long, empowering myself with a masterful knowledge of the history of the world, the poetry of our great writers, and the ideas of the long line of philosophers who have lent their minds to the quivering complexities of our human world. In turn, I dream of crafting compelling turns-of-phrase so that my soul can mingle with the souls of the many in the universe of the written word.

I long to study the intricate dance between plants and animals, to grow enough food in my backyard to feed a neighborhood, to become a master of natural health and “folk” remedies, to help develop new solutions for how humans can live in the world instead of on top of it.

I say I want to earn a living provide value to the world by doing something that I love, and figuring out something I love does not seem to be the problem. But, if I choose one thing to specialize in, isn’t it necessarily to the detriment of everything else?!

In the end, it seems that I do not know how to commit the discipline to, or relegate faith in my abilities to succeed at, any one endeavor. And heaven knows there is not enough time in the day to excel at everything. And so most hours I sit indecisively still, soaking up the achievements of others through the multitudes of articles that pour into my Google Reader each day, feeling like the lamest jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none twenty-something ever.

Despite the fact that such a broad topic goes against the very wise suggestion of “niche blogging” put forth by so many successful writers and online publishers, if you will allow me, I shall explore these loves here, that I may give them the consideration they deserve.