“South Korea”

It was supposed to be hope.
A chance for freedom.
New life in a new world
filled with promise,
and possibility.
After three hours
I was miserable.
After three days
I was sobbing.

We admitted
our defeat, and
tucked our tails.
Spent more time
on buses and in
an airport hotel than
one should, before the
long flight back to home,
to sanity, and to freedom.


This week’s Trifextra challenge is to write something from our memoirs that has to do with the number three. While I’m sure I could have chosen a number of threes in my life, I went for the most recent, the three weeks of absolute hell I spent living in Gwang-ju, South Korea.


8 thoughts on ““South Korea”

  1. I’m sorry it was miserable for you, but I’m curious why it was so awful. Was it just being away from home, or the culture not what you expected? I stay close to home, so I admire those daring souls who have the personalities for travel 🙂

    • For me, it was a combination of too many bad things – the working conditions/expectations, and the living conditions, and just the environment. Living somewhere where -no one- speaks your language is very difficult, but add to that being expected to treat -children- like little soldiers and it was just too much for me.

    • I’m told that most places aren’t like what we experienced. That school, however, seemed to have a rather high turnover rate. Wish we’d known that before.

  2. wow, LOVE the physical shape of the poem too, like Korea is draining you and then when you come back home you are YOU again. Nicely done.


    • You know, I hadn’t even thought about the shape when I wrote it, but you’re right, it does mimic how I felt throughout the ordeal. Thanks for stopping in!

  3. I have heard of this happening to English teachers overseas. I admire your courage–to go, and to return, and to share your experience.

    We spent 18 months in Canada and even though we’re quite similar culturally, in many ways we’re different. Your culture shock had to be thousands of times greater than ours was.

  4. You have really conveyed a feeling of suffering and misery with your words and the structure of your poem. I am sorry that you had that experience. I could not imagine working under those conditions and think that, more than giving up, you made a good choice to improve your quality of life.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. Please come back tomorrow for the new challenge.

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