My international journey, which included hauling two children, 1 wife, 1 stroller, 2 car seats, 8 checked suitcases, and 3 carry on bags from South Korea to Knoxville, Tennessee, is finally complete. And it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. In the end, only one bag was missing, and I got it the next day. That’s the best I could have hoped for.
So, we have been in Knoxville for about three weeks, and still experience stages of homesickness for Korea and reverse culture shock. But, now that I have begun working (though not teaching yet for another two weeks), I have more focus and am now enjoying my time here more.
The University of Tennessee (UTK) is huge. I walked from my office to payroll, which felt like walking five miles. I don’t think it was that far though. UTK was also voted one of the ugliest campuses in America. I wouldn’t say it is the ugliest, but it does have a lot of concrete and not much shade. Plus, all the construction on campus (everywhere) makes it an eyesore at times. I hear they will be done in about five years.
My office is lodged in what used to be an old house. It is quaint, though not as modern as the multi-million dollar building my previous office was located in. All my colleagues and coworkers are great. That is something I am very grateful for.
I begin my semester in two weeks with a mix of international students (Saudi Arabians, Brazillians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and some others). As far as I know, I’m teaching an advanced reading/writing course, an advanced listening/speaking course, and a lower-level reading course. I’ve been overwhelmed with ideas for these courses and plan on working on them diligently for the next two weeks, hopefully not overplanning and forgetting to leave room for student autonomy, emergent language work, and all that good stuff that myself and my readers typically blog about. In the meantime, I also plan on restarting blogging. Looking forward to the next few months, as I am sure they will be full of fun, surprises, challenges, and more!