The whole North Korea-South Korea craze is driving a lot of people crazy, myself included initially. I was totally freaked out the day of Kim Jong Il’s death. My co-workers and I even talked about how we would plan an escape to Jamsil, swim across the Han River to safety because that was our only way out, no trains, just swimming. This all happened as I was finishing the last term of my first year teaching English in Korea, knowing that I would be in America soon.
Worry-Free in America
Nonetheless, after time passed, nothing happened and we became less worried. That and we were constantly reminded by our students and staff that nothing would happen, Kim Jong-Un (the son) is not experienced enough to start a war, we do not have to worry. Knowing that I was extending my contract with the company, I didn’t feel too nervous about it after all. I went on with my day, doing the things that I normally do and was on my way to travel the world and venture back to America.
Being in America, I didn’t even think about the whole North Korea-South Korea problem, I enjoyed my time there and made my way back to Seoul at the end of February. In the beginning, I totally forgot there was a problem. That was until a few weeks ago when the news started spreading internationally. North Korea was preparing for a war, they had a bomb ready to attack. Initially, there was no panic whatsoever. But of course, after reading all the hype in the news, it's easy to freak out a little.
I met with my Korean friend who freaked me out, telling me I should leave the country. However, he later started joking about the situation. He made me feel a lot better and even sent me photos of the South Korean military men practicing for the worst. In addition to this, with a few friends in the American military, they also made me feel at ease with the situation, reassuring me that they were doing everything possible.
The following day while teaching English, I asked my students if their parents were worried and they all said no. I told them to plan for the worst and ask where to meet their parents just in case anything does happen and they laughed. I then proceeded to talk to the staff who also said nothing will happen and they’re not too worried. I then met with my mother’s partners in Korea for a lunch and asked them the same question. They broke it down to me and explained it as this, “They always claim to start a war every time there is a new leader. We think it is just for the new leader to express his power to the people so they trust him. Do not worry about it, it will pass after some time.” With that said, I felt a lot better.
Happy To Teach in Korea
At the end of the day, after all the worrying and knowing that there is a potential of a war, I am still glad that I am in Korea. Living in Korea allows me to experience how the locals understand the situation, something an outsider can never understand. Being from America, we are in a country of “freedom” and we do not have a split culture. I am now able to better understand the cultural differences and why there is so much pride between the two countries.
Although no one is sure what will happen next, the breakout of a war is not as simple as it may sound. There are way too many countries involved in this whole situation that can possibly result in another world war, which no one wants. Therefore, at the end of the day, I realized that should war break out, there is no way to avoid it. Nothing stops you from leaving the house and enjoying your life so why hold yourself back from a great experience today.
Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes. With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!