I'm sometimes posed with the question, Why did I come to Korea? This question is not to be confused with why am I working abroad, but very specifically what made me choose this particularly country; why didn't I go to, say, Japan or Taiwan? Why Korea?
The answer is actually quite simple. Around 16 or so years ago I took up the martial art Taekwon-Do. My brother and I were actually searching for a kung-fu school—we were very much into kung-fu movies growing up. Quite accidentally we saw a flyer advertising Taekwon-Do and promoting it “as seen in Best of the Best.” We had seen the film and was impressed by the techniques we saw. Although it wasn't kung-fu, it was significantly different enough from Karate. We knew we were not interested in Karate. My brother and I attended a class and the rest, as far as me becoming a serious martial artist, is history.
Then one day my sister-in-law told me about the possibility of going to Korea. There were different options. One could go through a church organization as a teacher-missionary. Or you could go through an educational institute as a teacher—usually an English teacher. As soon as I had finished my master's degree I was on the plane to Korea.
In all, I have been in Korea for about four years now. The honeymoon phase is long over and I've been thoroughly disillusioned. I have an enigmatic love-hate relationship with this country. And while I think that my time here is slowly drawing to a close, I also know that as of yet, I am still not finished with it. Eventually, when I do depart, I know that I will always have strong ties with Korea. My Korea.