Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Changes

I've been in Korea for almost one week now.

Prior to departure, I was curious as to how things might change for me while I'm here for one year, besides the obvious changes of occupation, location, and community. For example, I had an interesting conversation with Andrew and Sharon about Myers-Briggs personality types. From what I remember, I'm an INTJ. What we wondered aloud was, could a drastic change of environment and lifestyle cause a sort of shift in one's MBTI letters? Supposedly, the way you test is supposed to remain constant throughout your entire life.

Usually, when I enter new social situations and meet lots of new people at once, I spend a little time thinking about how I'll portray myself, what kind of first impression I want to make, and how much I will tell my new friends or acquaintances about myself. Although I'm an introvert, I've learned over the years how to be outgoing and how to seek out the less predictable friendships. I have to remind myself constantly not to judge but to look for the most awesome aspects of everyone as I create new social circles. Maybe I could become more E (extroverted) than I (introverted) if I tried really hard and had the right motivations. How badly do I want to become bffs with the people I meet here?

As it is, I still haven't added any of my fellow ETAs on Facebook. I'd prefer that they get to know me purely in person, without being able to flip through all of my photos and scroll down my wall to get any other (extra-contextual) ideas of who I am. (I wonder if any of them are reading this right now?)

Because what if I change? What if I can actually be a totally different person while I'm here? Do I even want to be? Or am I supposed to "stay true to who I am"... even if I don't like every part of who I am?

In the past week, I don't think I've tried (at least consciously) to be different from the norm. I mean, as an introvert, that sort of thing is mentally taxing and our orientation schedule is keeping my nose to the grindstone already. But some things have changed. Two things specifically: I'm not a vegetarian anymore. I was an on-and-off meat-o-phobe for two years, capitulating only to my mother and to sushi when it came to eating anything that used to be alive. But 삼겹살 (Korean bacon) and 불고기 (Korean marinated beef) are too good -- and I don't want to 麻煩 my homestay family (because vegetarianism is rare and not well understood in Korea), so I'm eating everything on my plate these days. Another change is that I've been going to the gym every morning at seven, which means going to bed around eleven in the evening. This one's a weird change for me, but I want to work on my self-discipline, and working out in the morning is a good way to start the day, as it wakes me up and makes me feel accomplished before I've even eaten breakfast.

So, those are some changes. As for other things, well, only time will tell if my personality will shift or if my new peers rub off on me in any way. I'll check myself again at the end of the summer. Until then, I'll try not to try too hard...! Because goodness knows I don't have the time or energy to do much more than be myself.

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