Adventures in Blogging, Part II: Facing Our Fears

Continuing on in my series about the “time capsule” benefits of blogging, I’d like to look today at how blogs can aid in personal growth:

Facing Fears

Back in 2007, in one of my first entries, I posted a list of the eight things I was most afraid of about moving to Korea.  I referred to the list quite a bit during my year there, and then recently rediscovered it.  For me, it has been a good opportunity to see that I have, indeed, faced fears and grown from them.

Here’s the original list, with some updated commentary:

1. Eating what I believe to be chicken, and then finding out that it isn’t.  Unfortunately, this has happened MANY times.  One time, it turned out that I had eaten rabbit, which was perfectly fine by me.  Another time, just a few months ago, I thought I had just eaten a chicken rectum (I really wish I was making this up), but I actually ate a tubeworm.  I was uncertain as to whether I should be relieved or horrified, so I opted for horrified.

2. Accidentally insulting someone through not understanding Korean etiquette. Or just being an ugly American, in any way.  I cannot count the number of times in Korea that I believed a taxi driver or shopkeeper was furious at me, when really they weren’t.  With Korean men, it is sometimes really hard to tell.  Fortunately, I never responded in an offensive way.

3. Not being a good teacher to my students (probably my biggest fear).  Oh, I definitely blew this one a few dozen times.  Every first year teacher does.  The good news is, I blogged about some of these failures, and thus was later able to analyze and learn from them.

4. Learning from being a minority for the first time that I am in some way racist/prejudiced.  I am happy to say that I instead learned that I highly value other cultures.  I did learn to be more patient with non-native English speakers and to show a bit of extra kindness to them.

5. A death in the family while I’m away.  Thank God, this one has never happened, though I know that it will someday.  I really thought that it might happen this year, with my mother becoming ill.  Fortunately, she’s doing reasonably well at the present time.

6. Making a mistake in my paperwork and/or visa requirements and not being able to go.  Oh yes, this one happened all right!  But the mistake wasn’t made by me — it was the fault of the Michigan Secretary of State in Lansing, where they apparently didn’t realize that South Korea was a country (!) and thus messed up on my apostilles.

7. Getting lost in a foreign airport on the way there.  I got completely lost in Seoul Inchon airport on my way to Gyeongju, and nearly missed my flight to Busan.  Since then, I’ve gotten lost not just in foreign airports, but in foreign cities around the world!

8. Getting all the way there, and then realizing that I forgot to pack something essential.  This fear, to be honest, was more like a certainty.  Of course I would forget something essential!  In the case of Korea, I left behind a lot of things that I thought I could do without for a year, such as the teddy bear that slept with me all the way from age 8 to age 23.  I had no idea about the concept of “sacred objects”.  Now that I’m older and wiser, I made sure that there was room for Teddy in one of the suitcases when I moved to China!