I’m currently teaching in Jinju, South Korea. Shortly after the outbreak in China South Korea had the most corona virus cases. Now, it seems like things are settling down (knock on wood). Immediately after the virus spread to Korea and it started to look bad I began to panic. Though, this is a normal reaction, it’s something I’d not recommend. As it turns out Korea is one of the safest places to be right now due to the government and citizen’s diligence.
Before we get into the article I highly recommend picking a tube of O’Keeffe’s working hands hand cream. I’ve been using it since 2017 and I can honestly say it’s best hand cream I’ve ever used. Last year, when I worked at a cram school most of my classes were with really young kids (aka those who seem to most detest hand washing the most). I was constantly washing my hands and they were never cracked or dry thanks to O’Keeffe’s!

One of the nice things about social distancing is it gives you time to take artsy photos of the view from your window.

If you’re teaching abroad and the corona virus is worrying you, I’d consider doing the following things:
If you have a pet make sure you have a registered airline carrier. This varies with each airline, so my suggestion would be to follow the most strict regulations (in my research that’s delta).
Talk with your friends and family back home! Get zoom, or marco polo, or send voice memos. I find that when I’m feeling low connecting with friends online does wonders for my mood. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I’m still in my pajamas.
Turn off the news. It’s great to stay informed, but I find that hearing about the corona virus constantly wears on my mental health. Everyone’s threshold is different, so find what works for you.
Watch tidying up with Marie Kondo and then use the KonMari method on your own place (you’ll thank me when your contract ends!).
Use this time to start reading some Octavia Butler. Random? Yes, but I’ve just started reading The Left Hand of Darkness and it is amazing. There are seven novels and a number of story cycles in this series so it’ll keep you busy for a while.

I’ve been taking walks in the afternoon in the park near my house. If you can, I recommend taking a walk once or twice a day.

It can be scary to be in a country that is not the one you grew up in when something like this is happening. If you can and want to go home that’s a valid choice. If you want to stay where you are that’s a valid choice too. Personally, I’m staying in Jinju because I think that it’s just as safe in Korea as it is in Canada. Also, it has been said before, but I’ll hazard saying it again don’t worry about using this time to be “productive”. Having time off because a pandemic is raging doesn’t mean that you should be writing a novel, painting a masterpiece, or working on your six pack. If you’re able to do those things then great! But don’t feel bad if you’re too stressed not too.

With love and care,

Jasmine

 

Things might be stressful, but at least there are still cherry blossoms!