I feel like this could be the post title for the next six months. Still settling in. We’re in the middle of our third week in Seoul.
I’ve been trying very hard not to think of it this way, but I have also been processing it as six weeks since we left Turkey. If you Google “culture shock” you’ll find the term “honeymoon phase.” And while I would like very much to be there, I’m not yet. (That is not to say I am not grateful and haven’t been enjoying this place and meeting new people.) While I have one foot nearing the honeymoon phase, the other foot is planted in the grieving process of leaving our last home.
It sounds overly dramatic and it’s definitely not what I expected.
I feel like it’s worth noting this is not a cry myself to sleep at night kind of grieving. I cried once about it when we were in the States for three weeks and haven’t since then. It’s more of a sense of loss and sadness. I know it’s part of the transition of settling into a new home.
I subscribe to a lot of blogs and I recently read a post from about someone’s first home buying experience. And it resonated with me. Let me explain.
The first few days on my own (while David was at new teacher orientation) revolved around shopping trips. We needed x, x, and x for the house, and I mapped out the subway routes to get to the stores. On Saturday, we went to IKEA and eyed some of the couches there. Our employer provided a couch along with other basic furniture, but we were missing the pull-out couch we lived on for the last three years. We decided to use part of a housing stipend and went for it. A few days later, IKEA delivered it and David spent a couple of hours putting it together.
Once it was constructed, I started second guessing it. Did we pay too much? Should we have waited longer before purchasing it? Moving to a new country and reestablishing your house is not so cheap. You can only fit so much into a handful of suitcases. There are everyday household items that “need” to be purchased like an ironing board and a wall clock and hangers and a broom. While I pride myself on being a smart shopper, costs add up. I was feeling bad about spending money and then the couch was kind of big and was it the wrong size for the room and did we make a mistake?
And then I read the blog post by Rachel Schultz. And it talked about making a house an idol and that idols never satisfy. And it woke me up. “As Tim Keller defines it, an idol is making a good thing into the ultimate thing.” I had turned the idea of home and making a home into an idol. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself and a place. And when I gave up the ideal and the idol, I felt a little more free.
Settling in is a process. It takes time. And it’s okay that’s where we’re at right now.
Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to.
David finished orientation last week. His classroom is decorated and ready for students:
I’ve been accumulating succulents here and there around town. I found the cutest plant shop in Itaewon called Pida! I got my first air plant. It’s planted in driftwood. Swoon:
Grocery shopping looks a little different now:
I went out Friday night with some girls to celebrate a birthday. After dinner, the 12 of us shared a whole mess of patbingsu. We devoured two more before these arrived:
David and I tried to go to a festival on the Han River on Saturday, but couldn’t find it. We did find a little water park. It was nice to dip our feet in the water to cool off a bit. It is HOT and HUMID here! We also browsed the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Korea has the cutest everything for sale.
David played basketball Friday morning and woke up Sunday with a super swollen foot. He was in a lot of pain, so we went to a hospital to see a doctor. We were blessed by two new friends who took us and helped translate and navigate. The x-ray came back clear and they wrapped his leg almost up to his knee. (Maybe a little overkill.) Nothing like seeing a doctor your third week in-country and the day before school starts. The hospital made us wear face masks:
School starts tomorrow for David! My goal for Monday is to get more information about language school.