An open letter to readers: Life, death and Korea

Dear readers,

Long time, no blog. I apologize for the delay, but after the next series of posts, I’m hoping you can forgive me and add alexpickett.com back to your Google Reader.

The last eight months have tested me physically, emotionally and spiritually. First, I landed a job. And while it was a great opportunity I’m thankful of after a year of unemployment, it also rekindled my Office Space-inspired hate of corporate environments. Even worse, this particular company was on unsteady financial footing and brought back a familiar anxiety of “Will I have a job today?”

Soon after I landed this job, my grandmother became ill. It’s a lot to go through now and I’ll have a few posts about the situation up soon, but for the moment let’s just say it involved a lot of doctors appointments, some long nights by her side, and a lot of worrying. Unfortunately, she passed away in April, which brought its own avalanche upon me.

But it hasn’t been all bad.

After my grandmother died and the future at the new company grew increasingly dim, my girlfriend and I stumbled upon a unique opportunity to journey east.

No, not Cocoa Beach. Korea!

Ah, I can hear you thinking, “Why Korea?” Have I been hired by Kim Jong-il to help produce the new heavily-propagandized “Ernest Goes to Korea” movie? Did I answer an innocent sounding e-mail promising me riches from the Prince of the Republic of Korea?

Nope. Even more exciting: I’m teaching English. To kids!

I recently joined the ranks of ESL teachers who travel to far off lands, meet interesting people and teach them funny words. The South Korean Public School System, which facilitates an English program for schools throughout the country, hired us for teaching positions in Daegu, South Korea. So, what is this reporter, whose resume includes waterboarding and hanging out with homeless people, doing teaching kids? Good question; read on.

Now is the time to resurrect that itchy travel bug. The job in South Korea represents an amazing opportunity to travel abroad, something I have never done. Though I’ve been within a mile of Mexico with the Arizona Minutemen and within a few hours of Toronto on Red Bull-addled road trips, I’ve never stepped foot over the United States’ borders.

Teaching English overseas is widely regarded a great way to travel and save money. But more than that to me, I wanted to work in a field where I could see the difference I made every day and not just see the hard-earned minutes of my life making someone else money. I can think of very few jobs fitting that description —  teaching is one of them.

I’m not sure how I will like it after a year, but for now, it seems great.

I’ve also updated this blog to reflect the change. I’ve selected a new template – one that is brighter, easier to read and more interactive. My posts will come regularly again. And I’m also welcoming my girlfriend to the blogging fray here in my next project: Alex and Chickpea Do Korea. We will write, post photos and even video blog. Lots of video blogging.

I hope you’ll follow along during my most exciting journey yet.


Alex Pickett

2 thoughts on “An open letter to readers: Life, death and Korea”

  1. Heidi says:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to revisit your blog for Korea updates. I’m so pleased you’re back and that Chickpea is blogging! I’ve already caught up on a few posts, but I intend to read more thoroughly after I’ve met my newspaper deadlines.

    I’m envious of your adventures. Keep posting so I can live vicariously through them.

    1. Alex Pickett says:

      thanks heidi, your great! I have been reading your stuff off and on to get a sense of a) life in St. Petersburg, which I miss a bit and b) to get a sense of great writing. Take a look at Franki’s facebook for lots of photos of this place. We’re just getting around to posting more frequently so hopefully new stuff soon. TTYL!

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