KMU Focus

Farewell, Korea

  • 18.12.17 / 박차현

Pf. Brian Roberson
College of General Education

 

After many years living and workingin Korea, it is finally time for me to saygoodbye, as I will be retiring after thissemester. There have been so manymemories throughout the years, but nowKorea just feels like home. I first arrived inKorea just after Christmas in 1995, a fewyears before most of my current freshmenstudents were born. That fact was hard toimagine when it first dawned on me thatI had been living in Korea longer than myKorean university students! I would teasethem that I probably knew more aboutKorea than they did. And of course I didknow more about the Korea that I hadexperienced when I first arrived. They didn’t know that Kim Jung Min, Nok Sak Ji Dae(Green Zone) and JuJu Club were the mostpopular singers at that time. I also livedthrough 6 elected Korean presidents duringmy time in Korea, and missed most of theterms of the 4 US presidents who also servedat that time. There were more US presidentsduring that same time period because 3 ofthem served two terms, but let’s hope thecurrent US president doesn’t get the sameprivilege!

 

I came to Korea a single man, but now ammarried with two children. And althoughI met my wife here in Korea, she is notKorean. She came from the Philippines towork as a missionary English teacher, andwe met at church. And although our childrengrew up here in Korea, our daughter wasborn in the Philippines and our son wasborn in the US. We had moved back to theUS for a couple of years after my motherpassed away in 2007, and my son was bornduring that time. But I soon discoveredthat teaching English in California wasvery difficult because there is no officiallanguage in the US, so we came “home” toKorea, where the people are much moreserious about learning English! The bestplace for the profession I had chosen wasright here in South Korea! Thus I have spenta total of 20 years here in Korea teachingEnglish. That’s a long time to live away fromyour hometown! Both of my parents andboth of my wife’s parents passed away whilewe were living here in Korea. As a matter offact, I no longer have a home in Californiabecause after my father passed away thefamily home was sold. So after this semester,our family will move to the Philippines tobegin a new life.

 

Thinking back on all of my memories frombeing here in Korea so long, I realize that Idon’t feel like a tourist or even a visitor here,but just like one of the many people whocall Seoul their home. It’s been so long sinceI thought of myself as a visitor that I canhardly remember visiting the usual touristspots for the first time. My first destinationto live was in Suwon, where I lived for almost2 ½ years. I can remember walking all theway around the Suwon wall a few times, andeven inspired some of my students who wereborn in Suwon to try the same thing because they had never done it! In a way, I stillconsider Suwon to be my hometown becauseit was the first city I lived in when I camehere, but I’m sure if I went back there todayI wouldn’t even recognize the place becauseI know it has grown immensely. Other thingsthat have changed since I came here is thespelling of many Korean cities! Busan usedto be spelled Pusan and Jeju Island used tobe spelled Cheju Island! To me, that stilllooks like the right way to spell it becausethat was the way it was on my first two tripsthere. The last time I traveled there and sawbig letters “Jeju” on the airport, it just lookedweird! I’m glad my hometown of Suwon,and my hometown of Santa Cruz, Californiahaven’t changed the spelling of their names!I’ll have to say that the fondest memoriesI have of Korea have been working for theSDA Language Institutes for 6 ½ years, asthat is where I first began teaching Englishhere, and at Kookmin University, becauseit is my final stop for my Korean teachingexperience. I met my wife while working inthe Namyoung SDA Language Institute, andwe have been attending the church at thatinstitute again for the past several years, soit is a very special place for us. And I trulybelieve that Kookmin University is one ofthe quality universities here in Korea. I havefond memories of singing Karaoke with thelast president at Kookmin, when we had aretreat for new professors. The faculty andstaff in Kookmin have been first rate, and Ithank every one of them for their kindnessand help throughout the 9 years I taughthere. Everyone has always been professionaland thoughtful to me as I navigated teachingat this university. And as a cat lover, I haveto thank Professor Rodney for his love andcare of the Kookmin Cats, who always makea stroll through the campus pleasant.

 

So, farewell to Korea, my home for the past20 years! May God continue to bless you as acountry, and may God bless each and everyone of you, my fellow Kookminians! Thankyou for the opportunity to live and work inthis amazing country!

 

안녕히 계세요!

 

 

brianrober@gmail.com

Farewell, Korea

Pf. Brian Roberson
College of General Education

 

After many years living and workingin Korea, it is finally time for me to saygoodbye, as I will be retiring after thissemester. There have been so manymemories throughout the years, but nowKorea just feels like home. I first arrived inKorea just after Christmas in 1995, a fewyears before most of my current freshmenstudents were born. That fact was hard toimagine when it first dawned on me thatI had been living in Korea longer than myKorean university students! I would teasethem that I probably knew more aboutKorea than they did. And of course I didknow more about the Korea that I hadexperienced when I first arrived. They didn’t know that Kim Jung Min, Nok Sak Ji Dae(Green Zone) and JuJu Club were the mostpopular singers at that time. I also livedthrough 6 elected Korean presidents duringmy time in Korea, and missed most of theterms of the 4 US presidents who also servedat that time. There were more US presidentsduring that same time period because 3 ofthem served two terms, but let’s hope thecurrent US president doesn’t get the sameprivilege!

 

I came to Korea a single man, but now ammarried with two children. And althoughI met my wife here in Korea, she is notKorean. She came from the Philippines towork as a missionary English teacher, andwe met at church. And although our childrengrew up here in Korea, our daughter wasborn in the Philippines and our son wasborn in the US. We had moved back to theUS for a couple of years after my motherpassed away in 2007, and my son was bornduring that time. But I soon discoveredthat teaching English in California wasvery difficult because there is no officiallanguage in the US, so we came “home” toKorea, where the people are much moreserious about learning English! The bestplace for the profession I had chosen wasright here in South Korea! Thus I have spenta total of 20 years here in Korea teachingEnglish. That’s a long time to live away fromyour hometown! Both of my parents andboth of my wife’s parents passed away whilewe were living here in Korea. As a matter offact, I no longer have a home in Californiabecause after my father passed away thefamily home was sold. So after this semester,our family will move to the Philippines tobegin a new life.

 

Thinking back on all of my memories frombeing here in Korea so long, I realize that Idon’t feel like a tourist or even a visitor here,but just like one of the many people whocall Seoul their home. It’s been so long sinceI thought of myself as a visitor that I canhardly remember visiting the usual touristspots for the first time. My first destinationto live was in Suwon, where I lived for almost2 ½ years. I can remember walking all theway around the Suwon wall a few times, andeven inspired some of my students who wereborn in Suwon to try the same thing because they had never done it! In a way, I stillconsider Suwon to be my hometown becauseit was the first city I lived in when I camehere, but I’m sure if I went back there todayI wouldn’t even recognize the place becauseI know it has grown immensely. Other thingsthat have changed since I came here is thespelling of many Korean cities! Busan usedto be spelled Pusan and Jeju Island used tobe spelled Cheju Island! To me, that stilllooks like the right way to spell it becausethat was the way it was on my first two tripsthere. The last time I traveled there and sawbig letters “Jeju” on the airport, it just lookedweird! I’m glad my hometown of Suwon,and my hometown of Santa Cruz, Californiahaven’t changed the spelling of their names!I’ll have to say that the fondest memoriesI have of Korea have been working for theSDA Language Institutes for 6 ½ years, asthat is where I first began teaching Englishhere, and at Kookmin University, becauseit is my final stop for my Korean teachingexperience. I met my wife while working inthe Namyoung SDA Language Institute, andwe have been attending the church at thatinstitute again for the past several years, soit is a very special place for us. And I trulybelieve that Kookmin University is one ofthe quality universities here in Korea. I havefond memories of singing Karaoke with thelast president at Kookmin, when we had aretreat for new professors. The faculty andstaff in Kookmin have been first rate, and Ithank every one of them for their kindnessand help throughout the 9 years I taughthere. Everyone has always been professionaland thoughtful to me as I navigated teachingat this university. And as a cat lover, I haveto thank Professor Rodney for his love andcare of the Kookmin Cats, who always makea stroll through the campus pleasant.

 

So, farewell to Korea, my home for the past20 years! May God continue to bless you as acountry, and may God bless each and everyone of you, my fellow Kookminians! Thankyou for the opportunity to live and work inthis amazing country!

 

안녕히 계세요!

 

 

brianrober@gmail.com

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