Miss a turn.

I’m writing this because a lot of people have been asking if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

To be honest, I feel very much as if I have.

Almost 6 months ago, I left Korea. I left a steady job. I left children I’d taught for nearly 4 years, some of whom I’d come to love as if they were my own. I left surroundings that were familiar and safe. I left a wide circle of friends. I left a good salary and a comfortable life. I left a place where I finally felt like I was part of a community.


No, I’m really asking. Why?!

I write this from a flat even smaller than the one I had in Korea, and much less modern. I get up before 6am every day, and spend the majority of my time not teaching (which I still love), but travelling blearily and wearily from one school to another. I’m permanently exhausted, and find it hard to stay awake past dinner time – which means going out and making friends has been at the bottom of my list of priorities, under “sleep, times a million”. Of course, the knock-on effect of that is isolation, which brings loneliness, which leads to introspection, regret, self-pity, and general misery.

I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss my job. I miss my free time.

I miss my life.

Two years ago, I turned 30. I spent that birthday with the most amazing group of friends, who planned an absolutely perfect celebration for me, from a boat trip to a jazz bar to karaoke to a photo album full of memories.

Last week, I turned 32. I spent that birthday counting down the hours until home time (Thursday is the worst day), and then sitting alone in my grotty flat, in a city I’ve hardly seen anything of, looking at old photos and crying most pathetically into the fur of a teddy bear. Two years between the best birthday of my life and the worst one.

I hate it here.

I can’t even write coherently about it, because my thoughts and feelings are a jumbled mess. If I don’t like my job, I should just quit. If I quit, it will look really bad on my CV (it’s a really prestigious, internationally respected company). I should go out and make friends. I’m tired all the time, I don’t have the energy. I’m in my thirties, what have I got to show for it? And around and around I go.

There’s a public holiday here on Monday, and I found out yesterday that my early class on Tuesday has been cancelled. I spent hours last night scouring the internet for a cheap last minute flight home for the weekend, but apparently that doesn’t exist. So there goes the main reason for moving back to Europe, doesn’t it? Sure, the flights are cheaper than from Korea, but that hardly matters when I’m making in a month here what I earned in a week there.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

It’s like it’s a giant game of snakes and ladders, and a few years ago I was up in the 90s somewhere. then I landed a small snake and slid down a few rows. Kept going, rolled the dice, got unbelievably lucky with a good CELTA result, an instant job offer, and a place to live… and immediately landed on the snake that makes you go all the way back down to square one, where everything is about a million times worse than it was the first time you were there because you can see everyone else up near the top, generally via Facebook statuses and photos showing you how much fun you would be having if you were with them. The loneliness and regret is overwhelming. Some days, I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with an adult. I ripped myself out of my own life, and now I no longer have one.

I have no idea what I’m doing, why I’m here, what I want, where I’m going, or what to do.

So that’s why I’ve disappeared. This ridiculous piece of writing probably proves that it was a good idea for me to just shut up and fade into the background, eh?

Sorry. I’ll be back when I figure it out…


10 thoughts on “Miss a turn.

  1. Take a day trip somewhere, anywhere over the weekend, the change of scene might just be the trigger to lift your spirits. Struggle on to the end of the year and if by then you still don’t like where you are, then come home. There is no shame in doing so. In fact it takes courage to make that move, and we all back track at some stage in our lives.

    Big hugs!

  2. smrtonos says:

    Heya, I recommend you to really think about what you want from life and just go for it. I do admit Czechistan is shite place but it’s not all that bad… IF at least your job is decent enough – which is not the case for teachers afaik; I know some people, colleagues who are quite happy here, but honestly, if you hate it here, go look for greener pastures elsewhere, I don’t think you will regret leaving quickly. As far as fear of bad looking CV goes, I recommend just leaving it out, unless being honest will get you plus points in future interview =)

  3. What happened to the people you did the CELTA course with? Did they all leave? Definitely take a trip somewhere over the long weekend – even if you can’t go home you can go SOMEWHERE! Sorry you’re having such a shit time.

    • P.S. I know you’re not a fan of Germany, but if you did want to come here one weekend I would be happy to meet up with you. I can be in Nuremberg in around 3 hours.

  4. I really wouldn’t worry too much about how things look on your CV. Most employers realise that sometimes things don’t work out for people and there are all kinds of reasons why someone might not stay in a job for very long. As someone once said to a friend of mine: “Pack now, think later.” If you are really unhappy and hate where you are you should leave. You still have your qualification so you have something good to take away from the experience and as the parents have pointed out you are still really young and have a lot of working years ahead of you.

  5. I agree with everyone who has already said ‘go somewhere for the weekend.’ A change of scenery almost always helps, and there is probably much to explore and see, even if you just take a couple of day trips. Also, I wouldn’t worry overly much about the CV if you really just want to quit: you have an excellent qualification and solid teaching experience, which is what employers want to see. You can either leave this job out (just looks like you’ve been traveling around Europe for a while) or else tell the truth: that you love teaching but that you are looking for a position that doesn’t require constant travel and allows you to be a more consistent part of one educational community/building relationships/blah blah, which you prefer to the more fragmented teaching you’re doing right now. Also – there’s nothing to prevent you from beginning a new job search while you’re still working – it’s not an ‘either/or’ thing. You have a job now, so – while it’s not ideal – you have a place to live and an income, so you have the luxury of not having to worry about daily life while you contemplate changes. It sounds to me like the problem is not so much where you live as HOW you’re living. If you truly hate where you are, then, yes, move – either back home or somewhere else. But if it’s just the job and the hours and the fact that you aren’t able to have a life outside of your work – then it sounds like the work needs to change.
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this rough patch, and I really hope that things improve very soon. Next year’s birthday is going to be extra-wonderful to make up for this one, I’m sure!

  6. Nicole says:

    you can still write… despite how depressing this piece is I had such a chuckle at your snakes and ladder analogy. Life is full of ups and downs. Find yourself another ladder!

  7. Aw Hails, I know how you feel. Nothing is worth doing in life unless you have friends to share the experience with, even the shitty ones. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be able to enjoy our own company but we need more than that. I have always been impulsive and if something didn’t feel right I got out of the situation. I have to not think about the ‘what if’s’ because it would drive me crazy. It;s times like these that practical matters go out the window. Just do what your heart tells you to do.

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