Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Manifest Destiny: Going Going Gone

I wanted to wait until it was official to let everyone know. I should send out the press release so there is no confusion and for when a million people ask me why I'm back I can just refer them to my press release:


The Last Unicorn is Quitting but for Once She doesn't Feel Like a Quitter

The Last Unicorn, born of the Perez Unicorns, after many years of intent, finally moved herself to South Korea to teach English. Upon her arrival all the familiar sights sounds, and smells of the place she once called home resurfaced, and many new ones. She made friends, she ate weird food, and yes, she missed everything back home. Eventually she started her job as a teacher at SLP Songpa Language Institute. Within days she knew that she had made a mistake in coming here, and that the work and life that lay before her, no matter how exotic, would not be fulfilling. She followed her guts (which tend to be right, save for directional purposes) and notified the school of her intent to leave. She would stay until they found a replacement.

Seoul, South Korea – September 2nd 2009 – Who?, What?, When?, Why?, and Where? The Last Unicorn finished her last day of class as her final days in the country wind down. Why leave such a beautiful place with a more than modest salary? On the heels of heart break and the celebration of a quarter century of life, The Last Unicorn spent a great deal of time this summer thinking about what's really important and what she would plan to do with her life. She thought about how grateful she was for her friends and family that care very deeply for her and make her life quite dynamic. She thought about how easy it has been to coast through life thus far as a white middle class American Midwesterner. She thought about how random it was that she was that instead of a member of an indigenous tribe in Mexico struggling for survival amidst government and technological encroachment. The Last Unicorn was very lucky. She was loved, cared for, and comfortable. As the wheels in her mind began to turn she thought more and more about the meaning of her life and how she wanted to make a living and to what ends.

She came to the conclusion that whatever job she took it would be a job that helped people. She wanted to say thank you, and since she isn't a religious woman, this is the only way she knew how. Yes, "to help people" was broad, but discounted a great many jobs. Including the one she just started. As the month wore on, The Last Unicorn grew to love her little English learners. There were bad days and there were good days, as their certainly are with six year olds, but all in all she had a stellar bunch of kooky kids. But the Last Unicorn could not ignore the dread that rose in the pit of her stomach every morning as she walked to school. She enjoyed the kids but she didn't enjoy making them learn an imperialist language that would give them a better edge in the job market. They were full of energy, stories, and creativity. She felt guilty yelling at them for silly things like making too much noise or wiggling too much in their chair. So with much thought and pain she decided to come back home leaving behind a dream three years in the making and at least five years of financial stability. There was a time and place for her to come back to the ROK, but it had passed and she had not realized until now. Does she regret her decision to come or leave? No. The Last Unicorn has learned so much more about herself than she ever could have imagined. She has a greater understanding of herself, what she does not want to do, and the experience of living completely on her own. She also made a few life long friends in the process. The Last Unicorn is not leaving because she is home sick or culture shocked. While she might be feeling both of those things mildly, she surely expected it. No, this decision was made upon her (sometimes a pain in the ass) idealism.

What is next for the Last Unicorn? She'll go back to her old job as a nanny and go back to school to become a nurse so she can eventually work for the Doctors Without Borders program and hopefully help a few people in the process. The Last Unicorn is sad to leave this place and all her new friends but she will never forget her experience and is excited to touch very familiar faces and hug very familiar bodies.

The Last Unicorn is excited to start yet another chapter of her enchanted life. Stay tuned it might be fun.

For More Information:

For more information about teaching English in South Korea please contact John Morgan at Morgan Recruiting, the best darn recruiters in all of EFL. They have helped tremendously in my process of arriving and leaving South Korea. For further information on life, love, and quarter life crisis please contact me as I will be really bored being back in the suburbs of the Midwest and will be in need of some adventure and/or pep talks. I like to play cards and scrabble too.

Contact Info:

The Last Unicorn
Elmhurst / IL / 60126 United States of America
Phone: We'll see when I get back into the country.


I knew my PR degree would come in handy one day.

Today was my last day of class. I brought in cake and we did a word search that was titled "Goodbye Teacher."

My students made me cards here are a few excerpts:

(written next to a rocket blasting off)

"Teacher was funny and I will Miss Her."

- Min Seo

(written below an airplane covered in flowers)

"Jessica Teacher Don't go until I finsh SLP. Jessica Teacher Don't be Nurse! Just stay in SLP!!!!"

- In Gi

(From my most challenging student)

I'm sorry I am bad. I am good for Jessica Teacher, not New Teacher. I will Cry. Please don't GO!"

- Yeon Jae

(below a picture of a sweet demon looking thing)

Bye Jessica Teacher. You teach me so good. You are help me so well. I love you. I will always remember. Never Forget.

- Hyun Woo

Some of these made me laugh and I did shed a tear or two, eventually I'll scan a few in (it's worth it). Teaching this age of kids is really interesting and it's very easy to get attached to the kids. I'm going to miss them all a lot as well, but I'm pretty glad I don't have to yell at them for being kids anymore.

I'm going to enjoy my last few days here. The next time I write in this thing it will probably be back in the states. Hoping for a smooth flight.

Many more adventures to come.

P.S. Thanks Seoul, I've had so much fun this past month or so! Pictures eventually.


Anonymous said...

Yo, it's Clif.

I'm shocked at what's happened, but I trust that you know yourself well enough to make good decisions for yourself. Asia will miss you, and I certainly still do, but if it's for the best, then so be it. I wish you the best and I hope you haven't changed too much by the next time we meet.

Kristin CatLady said...

Isn't figuring out what you want to do with your life awesome? Even if it's after you moved to another country, or just finished a useless degree that your heart isn't in?

I look forward to some cheesy "let's start living our dreams" heart-to-hearts when you return. Are you going to like in Aurora again?

gorta-no-more said...

Last Unicorn,
I am overjoyed that you are returning to the states. I cried today because I needed to talk about something only you could understand. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

The velvet unicorn.

The Last Unicorn said...

Yo Clif. I'm sorry to shock you! I think I've made a very good decision though I will miss Asia a ton and I'm really sad I didn't get to come hang out with you. Really. Don't worry when ever you come back (if you do) I will be the same ol' Jesse, just a little more put together and maybe with longer hair! I hope you are a recognizable version of Clif! Have fun buddy!

K Manz - Figuring shit out feels really empowering and exciting. I'm so pumped 'bout some cheese talk with you! I'll be living in Elmhurst which is basically a nicer version of Aurora, ha ha. But I will visit as much as I can!

Flaca- Love your blog. I can't wait to hang out in Chicago at your new place. Let's make pumpkin fluff!! I can't wait.