Hello from 부산
For those of you who personally know me, you know that I am not a risk taker. I play it safe and stick to what I know. At least, that’s the way I’ve lived my life up until a few months ago when I quit my job and decided to move to the other side of the world.
My first job ever was at a big-name bank as a teller. I started when I was nineteen years old and still in college. I thought, “Hey, this is a great first job! I will work here for 3 years and then move on to something better.” Those 3 years flew by and I was still working as a teller. Then 5 years rolled by, and I was still working in the same position. After my 7th year there, I was afraid to leave my position. The job market was terrible and people who were more qualified than I was for any job out there were having a hard time securing work.
Over the past couple of years, there was talk about me moving up in the company and switching over to a new position. I thought for a moment that maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, but I was still unhappy there. Would a new position really make a difference? I would simply be moving across the lobby to a desk. I felt ungrateful for wanting to leave when I had a good paying job and consistency. Never mind that I was miserable and wanted to walk out of there at least twice a week. I was trapped, working in an environment that was suffocating me but afraid to drown if I abandoned ship. What do you do when you know you have the potential to do more with your life but don’t know where to start?
Take a leap of faith. You will either land somewhere new or learn to fly. -Kandyse McClure
I got tired of playing it safe and living every day in the same uninterrupted cycle. How can I live life to the fullest without taking any chances?
I took a leap of faith.
I would love to say that I just woke up one day, decided to quit my job and follow my heart. It took months for me to make a decision. I thought about it every single day, I researched, and I prayed about it. I talked to my mom and my sisters until I fully made up my mind. You see, even when I am “taking chances” I am still thinking things through because it is not in my nature to be spontaneous, I’m sorry!
So, today I am sitting here writing all of this from my tiny apartment in South Korea where I have accepted a teaching position in Busan. This is the wildest thing I have ever done in my life. The Diana from three years ago would have never imagined that I would be where I am today. (I am in quarantine, but you get what I mean). Three years ago, I was preparing for a different life. I was planning a wedding and was going to marry a man that was completely wrong for me. You will hear more about that relationship, too. I was nervous and anxious about everything I said and did. I never took chances because the thought of failure paralyzed me into never moving forward. Over the past few years, I have learned to do things even while being afraid. I ended my engagement, the best decision I have ever made, but it was terrifying. I was preparing to say goodbye to someone who had been in my life for ten years. Even though I knew the relationship was toxic, I stayed because I was afraid of losing those ten years of my life. I quit by job as a teller even though that was all I knew how to do. I accepted this position all the way on the other side of the world, away from my family and friends and everything that is familiar to me, even though I have never in my life lived on my own. And you know what, I feel stronger and bolder. I feel free.
Busan Gamcheon Culture Village
There will be challenges, of course. Not only will the culture shock get to me, but we are still living through a pandemic. This means that as much as I would love to explore and get to know the country, all of that may have to wait as I focus on my work and my health as well as the health of my students. I don’t speak the language apart from saying little things like please and thank you. I haven’t even left my apartment due to the mandatory quarantine. But even through all of this, I am still so thankful to have made it here safe and sound and to be starting this journey. There is so much to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
This is where I am today: in a foreign country, in my tiny room, and in a different state of mind. I write this to you to encourage you to take risks, follow your heart, and do what makes you happy.
Side note: I started my application process to move to South Korea in October of 2019, before the pandemic. I was scheduled to leave in June but decided to postpone due to covid-19 and a back issue I was dealing with at that time. I worked with a team in the states and a team here in South Korea who assured me that my move would be safe. I took precautions, I have been tested multiple times, and decided to go ahead with my move at this time. Moving during a global pandemic is not easy, in fact it was very stressful. And maybe I could have put off my move for another few months to wait and see how the situation would continue to unfold. However, after speaking to the team that helped me in both countries and having answers to my many questions, I decided to follow my gut and accept this position. I ask that you please be kind and respectful and know that I took full precautions and prepared to move safely. Thank you.