Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Would you rather...

K: This morning it occurred to me that in order to fund our dream of living in Korea, we'd probably have to sell our house. There's just no way we'd be able to pay rent in Korea as well as our mortgage and all those utility bills back home. There's always the option of renting, but that can be just so messy. Plus, there's a little thing called money that the collateral we've built up on our house could help us out with.

To be honest, I've been waffling back and forth. One minute I am gung-ho on selling our house, quitting our jobs, and just GOING. And then the next minute I'm thinking about stability, money, putting off starting a family, and (this is silly, but I'll admit it) leaving Riley and wanting to throw the whole idea out.

So I've come up with two scenarios and major pros and cons of both. Readers... what which would you choose and why?

Scenario A: We plan a two week to month-long visit to Korea. We keep our respective jobs and just take "leaves of absences." We learn just enough Korean to get by while we're there.
  • Pros: Stability. We keep our house. We'd only have to find someone to watch Riley for a month. We could move ahead with any family and/or higher education plans. We wouldn't have to work while we're in Korea, so we'd have quite a bit of time to do all the sightseeing and spend time with my family.
  • Cons: Not truly immersed in the culture. Finding an apartment/hotel to stay in that whole time could be expensive. Dependent on whether or not our jobs would allow us to take a leave of absence. There's a possibility of having a short period with no paycheck.

Scenario B: We stick with the original plan and move to Korea for a year. We sell our house. We find someone who's willing to 'adopt' Riley for a year. We start some intensive Korean language classes. We both quit our jobs and make plans to teach English abroad. When we return to the US we can start/continue the job and home searches.

  • Pros: A year we'd never forget, living in a foreign country for a year would be unbelievable. An opportunity to really get to know my birth family. Probably get to see more of Asia, rather than trying to cram it in. International work experience to add to the resume.
  • Cons: Money. Not knowing if everything will work out when we return to the States. Postponing our "everyday" lives by a year or longer, depending how long it takes us to get back on our feet after returning (that means children, higher education, career advancement). One of us could have difficulty finding a job. If we are totally broke, we might have to live with parents until we can save up for a new home/apartment (yikes!).

So readers, please weigh in. What would you pick? Why? Or are you like me and just plain... confused...


Julia Goolia said...

Hmmm, this is obviously a tough decision that is all yours. BUT, if it were me I'd go for option #1. A month or so would give you time to experience Korea, visit your family, sight see, and feel connected to your roots. But you wouldn't have to deal with the chaos of being gone for a year. Also, coming from someone who lived overseas for 4 months, it is an amazing experience no matter how long you are there. It will push you out of your comfort zone and force you both to grow quite a bit--but I think that is true whether you are there for one month or twelve. It's also a selfish suggestion b/c we'd miss you so much!! I think I would have a hard time leaving friends, family, dogs, houses, jobs, and stability for a whole year. No matter what, go with your gut. We'll support you either way!

Anonymous said...

I would encourage option #2. It is obviously the more difficult of the two options but you will have no regrets and such an experience while you are there. The international experience will only boost your careers and if anything help you guys progress in your career paths. Your worries about when you come back (i.e. buying a house, getting jobs, etc) won't mean much in the grand scheme of things like it will mean to have a year of living in Asia. If you get there before August/September I'll come visit! We can also adopt Riley for the year.

All in all, there is a lot of thought to go into this decision and you are a logical person but this is probably the one time in your life to throw "logic" out the window and go for something that is going to bring you so many life lessons and memories for years to come.

Just my 2 cents. Keep us posted!

Unknown said...

Hannah and Julia - these comments are so funny because Mark and I feel like both of you expressed our points of view better than we could ourselves. Julia, you put into words my thoughts exactly, and Hannah - have you been inside Mark's head? Anyway, thanks for sharing your opinions... so much to think about and we always, always appreciate both of your support, encouragement, and advice!

Anonymous said...

Getting into a stable teaching job is not a simple thing in Korea. The stress of a bad work situation can really take away from the whole experience of living abroad. Aproach the whole thing with great caution, like buying a used car from a slicked up salesman, expect to get a lemon but keep looking for somthing that be decent to drive for a year or so.

Good luck!!!