eschenroeder, corinneNo matter where you are on the earth, your location can be mapped by using latitude and longitude coordinates. This system gives us a sense of direction, and even a sense of connection to each other.

So when Grace member Corinne Eschenroeder accepted a job teaching in Dongtan, South Korea after graduating from Webster University, she found solace in the fact that her new home on the other side of the world was on the same latitude as her home town of St. Louis: the 38th parallel north. Corinne began blogging about her experiences. She named her blog The 38th Parallel: Teaching and Travel in South Korea.

“I liked the idea that even though I am so far from home, I am on the same latitude I’ve always been on,” Corinne said.

* * *

Grace members Richard and Kelly Eschenroeder, Corinne’s parents, recently visited their daughter in South Korea. Here’s what Kelly had to say about their trip:

eschenroeder, corinne & kellyIt was quite an experience. It’s truly amazing to see your “kid” negotiate a totally different culture and do just fine — even though she doesn’t speak the language (although, I will say she can understand a lot more than you would think).

My favorite part was visiting her school, Eton House, and meeting her students. Since I work at an elementary school I found it quite interesting to see how a South Korean school is set up. Her co-teacher, Jenny, is South Korean and is darling and was a very helpful tour guide on several outings.

eschenroeder, corinne & richardWhile we were there we toured the largest Palace in Seoul, visited an authentic folk village, visited a CAT CAFE (very weird but very fun!) and even attended a baseball game between the Samsung Lions and the LG Twins (all the baseball teams in Korea have corporate sponsors).

Corinne has just re-signed with Eton House for a second year so I think it’s safe to say that she’s having a good time over there!

– Kelly Eschenroeder

* * *

Full Circle: A Year in Korea
(posted January 26, 2015)

It seems crazy that just a year ago I was nervously packing up my college apartment and saying goodbye to that chapter of my life. Thinking back to those moments makes me realize how much I have grown and changed over the course of 2014. Deciding to accept a job halfway around the world was terrifying and spontaneous, and it came with no guarantees or promises. Through fate or destiny, I found a place to call my second home. I have decided to accept another position at Eton House for the upcoming school year. Come March 2nd I will be the first Pre-Nursery teacher Eton House Dongtan has ever had. Though I am nervous and anxious about changing grade levels just as I was finding my niche in Pre-K, I am comforted by the fact that I am now a part of a supportive and loving community here. Not only have I checked off my first year of teaching, but I have survived and flourished in my first year living abroad. Now I can truly see the draw of living and working in a country different from your own. There is so much to be seen and learned, not only about the new country and culture, but about yourself.

As excited as I am to stay a second year here in Korea, I’m sad to know that I won’t get to see my home for another long time, possibly a whole year. I will be using my holidays to travel around Asia. I’ll be in Guam for Buddha’s birthday in May, Hong Kong for a week in August and lounging on a beach in Boracay, Philippines at the end of September. 2015 is shaping up to be a fabulous year of travel! As always, I welcome anyone who would like to come visit Korea and me. I even have an extra guest bed now!

It will be sad to see some familiar faces leave Dongtan, but I’m excited to see who I meet in the new school year. I don’t know how much time I will have to update my blog in the near future as I prepare to teach a new grade level (I know I’ve been slacking lately…) but I hope to still update occasionally.

eschenroeder, koreaRecently, I went to Seoul to be tourist for the day. A year ago when I arrived in Korea I went to see Seoul Tower, but I didn’t make it to the top of the tower itself. This time I went all the way to the top and saw Seoul from above. We really lucked out with a clear day and no lines for the cable car and elevator. It was truly a beautiful view and something I will
remember for the rest of my life.

Korea was the best decision I ever made. I can’t imagine what this year has in store for me, but I’m ready to experience it all!

Annyeonghaseyo!

Corinne Eschenroder

 

You can follow Corinne’s adventures at
http://thirty-eighthparallel.blogspot.com/

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