Posted by: topher274 | January 15, 2009



Well, as many of you may know (particularly those who knew me in College, not to mention my parents most of all):

When I am far away, and things aren’t going very well, my communication generally drops off. I suppose I figure that, if I have bad news to tell, bad news that very well may blow over soon, then I might as well wait until it does to resume communication.

So do I have bad news to tell? I wish it were that simple, good news and bad news.  Hmmm… My camera broke – I guess that is some clear-cut bad news: something that I’ve been quasi-dreading to tell the ah, blogosphere. And the South Korean Won (the money) is well over 1300 to the dollar: my 1,000,000 won sent home yesterday got me just over $700, that’s not great news either. But I feel as though I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

To join the ranks of a long list of webloggers, going all the way back to the livejournal days (which some are still in, Zach), I think it’s time to bear my soul to the blog. Oh yes, my soul.

I am thinking about not staying, that is, I am thinking about breaking my contract early, and going home. Home to Connecticut and home to Kansas City. Now why would I do such a thing? Why wouldn’t I do such a thing.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

I am not altogether unhappy here. Actually, there are many things that are quite nice, that I am very pleased with. The kids that I teach, particularly the kindergarteners are incredible! I enjoy many of my co-workers and my director is a wonderful man, Mr. Choi (pronounced ‘Chay’) by name. The other foreign teachers, a couple from California have been a blast to get to know. Not to mention that I am currently making more money than any other time in my life.

On the other hand, however, my life is quite difficult. Not only is this job demanding in terms of time and energy, it is very difficult, that is, difficult for me to teach such young children. I have come to love them very much, but I seem to suck at teaching them English. My feedback (from upset/angry parents, through my co-teachers, to me): the children [of some classes] have considerable difficulty understanding me, I go too fast and don’t explain. OR I go too slow and don’t cover all the material I need to.

Now, any thinking person would say – Chris! Just make the appropriate changes and fix the problem! I know. But I am on about the third round of hearing these comments, i.e. (I hear the comments, I make changes, I hear the comments again)3x. It’s very disconcerting. I have always said that, for me, the younger kids are, the harder they are to teach. And there’s only one category harder to teach than elementary school for me: elementary school whose first language is not english. It is also so very difficult to teach a subject (language) about which I have so much passion, but at a level that is too far below what I love about it. It’s like teaching Calculus to kindergarteners – one can only teach a small fraction of what, to me, the subject is really all about.

I can’t help but think back to my life in Kansas City. Sure, it wasn’t all rosy. Sure I couldn’t even make ends meet. But I was so happy. I was (slowly) on my way to the things I cared about. I was teaching at the Daniel Academy – an awesome gig. I was getting closer to joing the Greek faculty at FSM. Gosh, even the summer before I left, when I tutored Jordan Noto in Greek for 9 hours a week for 3 months: one of the fondest memories of my life. The International House of Prayer is a wonderful place for many reasons I won’t bother to ennumerate here, but I just feel like that had to be said.

But more than all this situational stuff, I had in Kansas City, for the first time in a long while, good, healthy friendships. A whole network of friends and accountability and comrades who really understood me and were with me in their hearts. They still are. (A shout out to all those who are with me in your heart!) And here, there are a very few people, two or three of whom maybe do anything close to understanding me. And they are over an hour away.

Those who know me well (and those who have just met me) know that I am a hopeless extrovert, that being with people is what gives me energy and being alone is what drains me. Well, outside of work, excluding every second weekend or so, I see nary a proximate soul with whom to converse, argue against or be with. Probably greater than 60% of my conversations are with my beloved ones over the internet, many of whom have a consonant message: We miss you. When are you coming home? That hurts. They don’t hurt, no, my life hurts.

So, I suppose I’m looking to see if there are any reasons I should go or stay. The good Lord seems to be silent to my queries of what I should do, though it should be noted that my relationship with him has gone somewhat akimbo (bent, I know it’s a stretched metaphor) since I’ve been here. I honestly don’t quite know what to do. I’m just bein’ honest.

I’m sure I’ll continue to talk about this in the posts to come. Uhmmm… Stay.. Tuned?



  1. Dear dearest friend of mine,

    I love you. In whatever you decide you shall have any kind of support you need from me. As the old wise man once said:

    La Vie Boheme
    To days of inspiration
    Playing hookey, making something
    Out of nothing, the need to express
    To communicate, to going against the grain
    Going insane
    Going mad

    I’m sure that’s applicable in some way…



  2. More maddening than applicable. Thanks ;)

  3. Haha. Mostly I just wanted to quote Rent. I’m sure, if given enough time, I could come up with a non-maddening application for your life.

  4. Hey man, I feel you. I know what you’re going through, even though I’ve never been to Korea. Or Asia. Well, actually, I was in Asia, but only for a day.


    I know what it’s like to be wondering if you’re doing the right thing, and if you should stay or go because it hurts either way. You’re probably trying to weigh which would hurt more and then decide to do the opposite. That would make sense, but I’m not sure it’s what I would do (if I had it to do again).

    Why don’t you give me a call (via the blasted interwebinet) and we’ll talk a bit about it. I’m in rehearsal from 6:30 to 9:00 my time, if that’s too late for you, we can do tomorrow my time, maybe 10-11pm your time.


  5. I salute your use of akimbo. A stretch, perhaps, but a word worthy of stretching to fit it in.

    I was in a very similar situation when I was living in China. I loved it over there so much but I really wasn’t living life. That’s ultimately what made me choose to leave. I knew if I stayed I had to commit myself to that life 100%, and at the time, I couldn’t do it.

    It was a painful period, but a wonderful time when I pressed into the Lord and grew really close to him, and for that I remember it fondly.

    So I’m with you, even though I’m not, and I’m praying for you.

  6. Dear Friend,

    I have adapted a little melody for this very occasion.

    We were half convinced we’d waken,
    Satisfied enough to dream you.
    Happily we were mistaken,
    Chris Fio….

    We’ll steal you, Chris Fio
    we’ll steal you…

    Did they think that Korea could hide you?
    Even now, we’re at your window.
    We are on the subway beside you…
    Buried in your froish hair!

    We love you, Chris Fio!
    And one day we’ll steal you!
    Til we’re with you then,
    We’re with you there!
    Buried in your froish hair…!

    Cheer up friend, nothing but love on this side of the pond. That’s what cool people call the Ocean.

  7. First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Are you tension? panic?

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