It's been nine months for me now in Korea. I haven't posted much this month because everything around me seems normal. Teaching is a routine, especially since 2 of the levels I have taught the past 2 months I had already taught before. I have the daily class pattern memorized: attendence, homework check, reading homework, reading, vocabulary quiz, grammar homework, grammar quiz, new grammar lesson.
The surroundings between the triangle of my school, my apartment, and the subway stop all seem normal to me. I have discovered all the shortcuts and alternate routes around my extended neighborhood. I have figured out all the quirks of my apartment from the way to turn on the oven burners so that they actually come on (hint: press down really hard and hold it for a few seconds before releasing) to the way the washing machine leaks water on the floor of the balcony (hint: toilet paper smells really bad when it gets soaked in laundry water).
I hardly flinch when motorcycles whiz past me as I'm walking on the sidewalk (hint: it's called a sidewalk, not a sidecycle for a reason). I understand all the questions asked of me at Lotte Mart and know the appropriate responses in Korean. I can navigate my way around the subway system without a map and when a new teacher asks me directions, I can picture the map in my head without any thought (hint: avoid the rapid train when coming back from Suwon station and always make sure you are on the train going to Cheonan not Inchon). I can even imitate the English announcements on the subway system (female voice: The train bound for Cheonan is now approaching; male voice: Please stand clear of the yellow line).
Overall, what I'm trying to say is that nine months is a long time. The longer you are away from home, the more you change, and the harder it becomes to go back because you can never go back in time to the way you once were before you left.