Monday, September 10, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Hi all

What a beautiful day it is in Jecheon today. Sun is shining but the force of the Summer heat has faded; there's a cool breeze and the surrounding areas are bright with the contrasting greens of trees, rice paddies and bursts of red apple orchards. Puts you in a good mood :)

I thought I would play catch up a bit and share some of what's been going on lately. Things in general are good. Something about getting half way just helps everything click into place. School this term has been going smoothly - other than trying to get back into a routine, I cannot really complain. The 6th graders are slowly getting to the point where they want nothing to do with Elementary School and are ready to move on, but sorry for them, they still need to sit through English. It's tough on both parties. But I really feel like I'm at the best point I've been at in my relationship with (most of) my students. We joke around and I make a fool of myself - much to their endless delight. And my little 1st and 2nd grade girls - bless their little souls - have taken to hugging me. It's the highlight of every day! Both schools are preparing for Sports Days so classes are a bit mixed up, and I'm pretty sure there's an Orchestra event coming up too.

We've had newbies come to Jecheon - yay! The August intake teachers from EPIK and TALK started arriving about a month ago and it's been really great getting to meet new people and hear all their stories. We have people from New Zealand, Australia, the States and South Africa. The foreigner population seems to have swelled a bit and it's been really nice seeing more Western faces around! We've also managed to meet some lovely Korean girls who are just the sweetest, and has finally made me feel more at home here. They pointed out that they find Koreans in Jecheon to be a little more closed off to foreigners and they decided to try and change that. It's interesting as I also felt that way but wasn't sure if it was just me. We're hopefully being taken to a cultural festival on Seoul on Sunday which should be amazing!

I went to my first Baseball game on Saturday! We've been meaning to go for ages but finally just booked a day, making sure we got a game in before the season ends.

Leanne, Nicola, Adam, myself and Jane at the Baseball
We went to Daegu to see the game - it was the Samsung Lions (Daegu's home team) versus the Doosun Bears. Besides the most obnoxious American men you could hope to encounter not shutting up behind us and none of us really knowing what was going, it was a great time ;) The shopping in Daegu was great - we went to an underground market in Jungangno (red subway line) which had a lot of what we've seen before but in a concentrated area. I am now the proud owner of a Polaroid camera - think it will be perfect for documenting my travels and allowing me to take pictures of people and places and immediately writing the story down with the picture.

I also went Bungee jumping about 2 weeks ago. My goodness. I have always said I will never bungee...give me paragliding and sky diving any day but not a bungee. Well, I somehow got all big talk and before I knew it, we were headed to Cheongpung Lake to do the big swing and bungee. It was Will, Kevin, Nicola, Corey (one of the newbies) and myself. The big swing was scary but a lot of fun. The bungee was terrifying. I was second last to go, and when I got to the edge to jump I just couldn't move. So I asked the nice man if he would push me and he kindly obliged. It's a feeling I cannot describe. Truly breathtaking and such a rush, but not something I will jump at doing again (excuse the pun..ha..ha..).

Nics tried to film the jump but I took too long, so I got this picture instead :)

Other things on the agenda in the next few weeks, before Winter starts to affect us, include: Paragliding on the 22nd, Jeju island for Chuseok, a trip to Busan with Nics, Everland and the DMZ. We also need to start stocking up on Winter survival clothes as I hear it can be brutal!

I've decided that I am definitely not renewing my contact next year. This is a really hard opportunity to give up, and I know I'm going to miss it immensely but I feel a year is enough to have given me what I needed from this experience, and I really want to be in Africa. I'm currently looking at volunteering in Kenya for around 3 months next year so watch this space!! (On that note: if anyone has any advice about good volunteer programs, do share).

I think I've said all there is to say for now. I'm glad I got to write a bit of a general update - it's been too long.

Happy Tuesday people of the interwebs - may it be quick and painless.

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