Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Things I`d like to accomplish on my journey...

Last year in Korea, I had carefully drawn up a list of 14 things I wanted to accomplish in the country before returning home in a year`s time. I am saddened to say that I wasn`t successful in accomplishing a single one of those priorities. I got caught up in the "social life" aspect of the expat culture, and thus neglected the things I would have really liked to have experienced. Mind you- I don`t have any regrets. Looking back, I was suffering from a mild to severe case of stage two culture shock and it would have been difficult for me to have accomplished the goals I had set out to accomplish at the beginning of my journey (in that frame of mind). Let me tell you- you read about culture shock and couldn`t imagine it ever getting ahold of you---- until you live it. It wasn`t until I removed myself from the situation months later by coming home that I was truly able to distinguish the symptoms of culture shock I had been experiencing. It`s unfortunate that I never did visit that Korean Folk Village, learn the basics of the language, or wade in the purifying baths of a "jim jil bang." However, at the time, frequenting "Whitey" bars, tanning in Itaewon salons, and shopping in the international markets were what I needed to cope with living amongst a culture so different from my own.

Regardless of my past failures, I am going to lay out a set of objectives for this upcoming year of mine on the road. I will use them as a guideline for the type of things I would like to see myself accomplish. If I stick to them- GREAT! If I don`t- that`s okay, too. Life does not always unravel the exact way we may like it to.

Things I would like to accomplish this year abroad:

Fiji & Vanuatu:

1). Padi Open water scuba diver certification (to be able to dive independently, up to 60ft, and rent equipment anywhere in the world)---4 days of study & dives
2). Witness a Kava ceremony (& some traditional dancing)
3). Snorkeling
4). Take a Fijian cooking class
5). Visit a traditional village/tour a school
6). Glass bottom kayaking tour

Australia (& general objectives):

1). Volunteer in an Australian social project
2). Complete distance courses
3). Visit Sydney Opera House (show)
4). Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
5). Visit Broome
6). See a Kangaroo
7). See a Koala
8). Visit the Taronga zoo
9). Visit the Australia zoo (Home of the Crocodile Hunter)
10). Obtain 3 references
11). Complete a volunteer social work stint abroad
12). Try Tim Tam (highly recommended by Aoi)
13). Get a new tattoo?
14). Visit New Zealand (for Mom)
15). Visit Bondi Beach

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