looking to the future

i haven't updated in a while partially because i've been busy with things and partially because since i've been here a year now (yes literally a full year almost to the day!) everything about life here seems normal to me now, so i don't feel the need to write about it? maybe? 

anyway, my contract is up this week, but i've asked my bosses to let me stay on for another three months or so. there are a few reasons i want to do this. i have decided to travel for a year or so when i leave korea and i want to save as much as i can before i go. but i really don't want to stay in korea for another winter (because it gets really cold and they don't heat buildings properly so you can never get warm). 

one of the most annoying (to westerners) things about korean culture is the fact that they don't plan ahead or let you know what's going on until it's already happening. in some ways, i've gotten used to this since i often find out moments before class that i'm going to teach a different class that day, or that half the students will be different. i have learned to not get so flustered by this and have developed some techniques to improvise. i gave up on "preparing" for class a long time ago. not saying this is good or bad, but you have to do it to a certain extent to adapt to life in korea.

however, there are times when koreans' lack of thought for the future is more frustrating than others. i am trying to plan my travels without specific knowledge of how long i'll be working (and therefore, how much money i can count on making before i leave) or of when exactly i'll be leaving korea. i have asked three or four times, and it seems like they either don't fully understand what i'm asking (the married couple who run my school don't have the best english) or that i'm annoying them by asking impossible questions.  

my boss has said that she wants me to stay on for a month after the new teacher comes to train her and during that time i'll be part-time and only making half of my normal pay. i am fine with this because i work long hours now and i am starting to feel like i need a rest. it'll be nice to have more free time here before i go. anyway, i simply want to know when i'm leaving, how long i'll be working, how long i'll be part-time before i go, and when the new teacher is coming. but these are impossible questions because it's too far in the future for the korean mind. 

however, since my contract is up this week, i'll have to sign a new one and renew my alien residency card. i'm really hoping to get some more answers this week so i can have a better idea how to plan my life.

LIFE PLAN (for the next few years):

my plan is always evolving, but i'm excited to share its current form now because i've just added a new piece to the puzzle that really makes the whole thing come together. i want to leave korea in the second week of november. basically, i'm going to travel around southeast asia (indonesia, malaysia, thailand, cambodia, laos, vietnam, myanmar, bangladesh) for about ten months. i want to do work exchange through workaway or wwoof (work in exchange for free lodging and meals) for probably about 4 months of the 10, but i'll be able to tweak it depending on how much money i'm spending traveling. i figure i'll travel a bit, then work a bit and repeat so i'll definitely be able to make my money last and have some left over at the end. i was worried about my money running out, but i've been looking into work exchange and it seems like a great solution. also, rachel and i are meeting up in cambodia in february for her winter vacation. and in september 2015 we are meeting up in russia to do the trans-siberian and end up in china. by this point it'll be november 2015 and i'll find a job teaching english in china before my money runs out. brilliant plan. i love it more everyday!

so i am getting very excited about the next step while trying hard to enjoy every minute of the rest of my stay in korea. it will be really hard to leave behind the people that i've met here, so don't want to wish away any of my time here.