Year Two - Month 7 & 8: Deep Thoughts
Hello everyone! It's been about two months since my last blog. I have come to realize that time really flys by because wow, it's already been two months since I last updated?
Anyhow, I think my last blog left off on me starting summer break. I had a great summer break. To start it off, I had a three day summer camp that went by quickly and the students really enjoyed the games and activities I had made for them. After my summer camp, I ended up traveling to Thailand for a MMA training camp. I was in Thailand for about two weeks and it was amazing. I went with a fellow Fulbright ETA who joined me in the MMA training. While in Thailand I got to learn Muay Thai which is way more intense then kickboxing or boxing. Muay Thai is probably the hardest and intense MMA style of fighting. Because I mainly went to Thailand for this training camp, I worked out about 4-5 hours a day and switched between Muay Thai, boxing, and kick boxing sessions. Overall, I think I improved some of my boxing/kicking skills while at this camp which is amazing! Besides the workout aspect, I did go to some beautiful beaches and small islands in Thailand. I did two island tours and on the island tours, I was able to snorkel and see some beautiful corals and fishes. Snorkeling is an amazing way to see the under the water sea life and I'm so happy that I got the opportunity to do it. Along with traveling always comes the food. I love eating and trying new dishes when traveling so I obviously ate a lot during my trip. I had amazing food every single day and had my favorite dessert every single day. Mango and sticky rice is one of the best foods to have ever been invented (besides green bean casserole) and I wish it was more common in the States and in South Korea. I ate this so often during my trip that I am content for the rest of the year. Sadly, I was unable to get lychees because they were out of season but I'm hoping I will be able to get it next year!
That pretty much summed up my summer vacation! After summer vacation, I got back into the school route. I go to work everyday and then afterwards try and spend some time with my host family. After dinner with my host family, I go to kickboxing, boxing and BJJ. I think for this year, going to the gym has been one of my highlights of this year. Not only have I gotten to learn a new hobby (BJJ), I also have grown extremely close to my gym members. Most of these members I am close to do BJJ, so I'm really happy that I made the jump and decided to learn BJJ. After about 2.5 months of BJJ training, I was given my first stripe on my white belt! It took a lot of effort and work for me to improve my BJJ skills considering everything was taught in Korean but I truly have seen so much progress from my first day of class to now. I also realize that I'm just barely scrapping the top of the barrel and there is so much more to be taught and learned but I'm excited to continue this new found activity that I truly enjoy. I'm also thinking of doing a BJJ tournament in mid-October to see how I fair against other girls my size. I currently train with a lot of guys and girls who are bigger than me so it can be hard to tell where my level and progress is at against someone of my own size. But we shall see what I decide and if my body (shoulder) is healthy and healed up enough for it!
Since I have fallen back into my normal route, within the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about what the future holds for me and what comes next. I can't believe I'm saying this but I am having serious thoughts of renewing for a third and final year. Fulbright Korea allows for a maximum of three year so if I did this, it would officially be my last year. I know I said this in 2021, but it would actually be my last Fulbright year if I decided to do one more year. I think within the last 2-3 months, I have grown exponentially closer to my gym community, school community and I continue to have a close relationship with my host family and Fulbright friends. This year has been a lot of community growing outside of my host family and Fulbright friends. For the first time in my life, I feel like I truly belong in every aspect. I feel at ease with school, my gym community, homestay and Fulbright friends. I don't feel like I have to force anything right now so it's making me think why should I end all of this and rush to get back to the "real world". Medical school will always be an option when I get back to the States and I know that once I start the medical route, my life will be more restrictive with travel and experiences like this. I am still in the though process for all of this and have a lot to think and ponder on but it's crazy what life throws at you. Never in my life would I have imaged postponing medical school to live and teach abroad for a year, let alone two and now potentially three years living abroad. I'm grateful for all of these experiences and truly believe that they will only benefit me in the future. That is all for now! Stay safe and healthy everyone!