Two weeks ago, I discovered that my blog has a built-in counter. Google provides me with a "Stats" tab that it took me four months to find (modern day Sherlock right here), and it tells me EVERYTHING about my blog and its viewers. I mean, really, I have your social security numbers and a PDF of your great-grandmother's birth certificate.
When I first discovered this tab, I had significantly more page views than I expected, including regular visitors from Malaysia, the Philippines, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (to name a few). My teensy mind has had a heyday trying to process this, and I've gone through the following phases:
- Pride: I must be the best writer in the WORLD! People from countries everywhere check my blog and it is absolutely because I'm a frickin' champion. I have more fans than JK Rowling, the Olson twins, and Big Macs combined! My words are magical and my jokes are superb, and the second I leave here I'm going to publish a book of all my amazing and unique stories! Now if you'll excuse me, Elizabeth Gilbert's agent is on the line.
- Fear: Wait, I have how many people reading my blog? And one of them found it by googling the keywords "health check + my butt"? Oh my goodness what have I done? What if the school finds out I've been posting videos of the kids? Or if I start getting stalkers waiting outside my building? I need to delete this blog and change my name to something less famous, maybe "Angelina Jolie."
- Curiosity: I wonder if there are any other people in Korea who had the brilliant idea to write down their experiences? I'm sure I must be the only one, but I'll check just in case...
- Self-loathing: There are 191,000,000 results on google for "Korea blog". And every single one of them is better than mine. None of my experiences are original; if my family and friends found out about how many other Korea blogs there are, all of them with a much higher standard of writing, they wouldn't need me anymore. A drunk monkey could type a better commentary on Korean culture, and he'd look way more awesome doing it. I'm a failure.
- Self-pity: I can't believe I even tried to write a blog, and I doubly can't believe people actually read this garbage. I bet the thousands of page views are just my grandma refreshing the page every six minutes. If my friends here found out about all the "new" and "exciting" things I've written about (that aren't new or exciting for anyone who's been here more than five minutes), I'd be the laughing stock of East Asia. I also had to google whether it was "laughing stock" or "laughing stalk" - ie, I'm the most pathetic English major on the planet.
- Denial: Blog? What blog? Oh no, I'm not the one who wrote that mess. You must have me confused with someone else; my name's Angelina Jolie.
It's quite hard to formulate a coherent blog post when your mind is tumbling around like wet gym socks in a dryer (man, I wish I had a dryer). I considered turning my blog into something "for the masses" and writing about more of the business side of my adventure. I'm sure if I hadn't had a friend to explain everything to me as I went through the application process, I'd have followed random foreigners' blogs too. I could write about the different kinds of schools, what types of restaurants to avoid when you're not with a Korean, and what songs you can put on your ipod to keep yourself from bursting into tears on the subway. But I'm not very advice-y. I tend to write about life as I see it, and my life is messy and hilarious and (if I'm being honest with myself) pretty average. I don't know how long she's had it up, but I realized today that the tagline on my friend Angie's blog says "it's not a blog about korea. it's a blog about me... while i live in korea." Amen.
This blog isn't really about Korea. Sure, I've told some stories that wouldn't happen in the States, and honestly, most of you probably wouldn't be reading if I didn't live in a foreign land where tiny octopi are considered a delicious contribution to a lunch tray. There are hundreds of other places on the internet that you can go if you want to learn what it's like to live in Asia; this blog is about what it's like for me to live in Asia. Some things are horribly commonplace and some things are pretty special to my adventure, but it's all just my life. This blog isn't going to become any bigger than it needs to be because it's already far bigger than I ever dreamed. And I'm not going to stop writing it, no matter how many other Korea blogs out there have already covered my material. I'm not writing for them; I'm writing for me.
I'm reading a book called Bittersweet right now, and there's a little excerpt that I love. Shauna Niequist (who is fabulous, by the way) talks about art and how many people there are in the world who are creating and how we can get lost in the shuffle.
The world doesn't need another band, per se. It doesn't, strictly speaking, need another book or another photograph or another album. The general world population will survive without one more stage production and one more gallery showing.
This is the thing, though: you might not. We create because we were made to create, having been made in the image of God, whose first role was Creator. He was and is a million different things, but in the beginning, he was a creator. That means something for us, I think. We were made to be the things that he is: forgivers, redeemers, second chance-givers, truth-tellers, hope-bringers. And we were certainly, absolutely, made to be creators.So there you have it. It's funny; I knew conceptually that moving to Korea was going to teach me a lot about myself, but I don't think you can really know what that means until you're in the middle of it. I expected to "grow and stretch and change", but I don't think I ever thought about what that would look like. I find that I'm constantly bombarded with things to consider: business ethics, culture shock, morality, standards of education, my own brokenness and incompetencies. I thought my blog would be a place where I'd post pictures and tell funny stories before they slipped out of my mind, but it turns out my little website is where I rummage through this world of sensory overload and learn what it means for me to become a part of it.
And you're just crazy enough to read about it.