Im sitting here (thankfully) typing on my computer…this past week or two has been crazy on technology scares. Actually make that my whole experience in Korea. My external hard-drive is out (I’m waiting until we step foot back on American soil before I get that one taken care of…), my phone got updated to the new IOS…and in the process did not bother to save my 1,200 pictures and videos I had stored on it from the past 2 1/2 years. Thankfully Deriks worked just fine…cant help but be slightly bitter about it. ;) Last but not least, the other day my computer didnt want to turn on. It somehow ‘forgot’ how to turn on. Im not joking…I pressed the on button and got a blank white screen with a giant question mark flashing in my face. Not my kind of day. Thankfully, our Iphones have turned out to be quite the lifesavers on many occasions…even due to the fact that they are still wifi only (working on making them prepaid phones…att lied…sim cards DO work on ‘locked’ iphones). I googled what was going on, and a quite stressful and teary (I still have some of my college papers, all my pics from Korea, and a few other misc files on my comp.) hour and a few minutes…I was back up and running.
Anyway, that’s not why I’ve decided to write today. Im sitting here, Derik’s strumming his month old guitar (it’s a beauty by the way…all korean-made acoustic solid wood), my clothes are hanging out to dry on my front balcony, where the late afternoon sun is shining in, and a slight breeze is flowing. Sigh. Its in these moments I feel the most inspired to reflect on what my life has become. Sometimes I freak out…I’m like, “What the HECK am I doing here…I know very little people, I know like 10 korean words, and i’m not even sure how to call 911 (119 here…just fyi).” Then sometimes I’m like, “Im basically the luckiest woman in the world, I’ve got a good job, a loving husband, and we’re on the greatest adventure of our lives.” Right now I’m feeling a little bit of both.
I absolutely love it here. The weather right now is perfect…which I have heard isn’t going to last for long. It’s sunny almost every day, and stays in the high 70’s. There’s always a slight breeze, which I’m just hoping, above all else, it decides to stay through the hot part of summer. I wasn’t thinking I’d be living so close to an awesome beach…but turns out we do! We’ve already spent quite a bit of time at the beach…it’s so interesting seeing the cultural differences between the Koreans and foreigners. We (us foreign folk) are all laying out in our bathing suits, soaking up the sun, playing water sports, beach sports…and everything in between. Koreans are at the beach in full clothing. I’m talking about long sleeves, pants, visors, sunglasses, sun umbrellas (I swear if we were to compare a rainy day to a sunny day…I see more umbrellas when its’ sunny), and GLOVES. Yes…gloves. The poor children are out in the ocean swimming in clothing covering them from head to toe. The other day I saw some girls playing in the water with big bath robes on. They bring their ‘camping’ tent and spend most of the day inside it. I’m not even sure of the real reason they come to the beach. It’s quite confusing.
As far as classes go…they’re great. Derik and I have long lost our ‘celebrity teacher’ status…and the students have no problem acting up or speaking their minds. The problem is half of what they say is lost in translation, if what they say is even translated. I do love the kids though…especially my kindi. Sometimes they can be real terrors, but sometimes they really can be the cutest…and say the funniest things. It still blows my mind that my little ones, my 6 year olds, are only 4…yet they can read like they’re in second grade.
There are so many things to do in Korea. I was talking to one of my coteachers…and she said the reason why there are so many festivities…is because the country is so small, and everyone gets bored. If you think about it, this does make sense. South Korea is the size of ONE of our states…say Missouri. Try to tell this to a class full of students…they have a hard time believing you. Its great for Derik and I…it gives us the opportunity to see as much of the country as we can before we leave. The next big event is the Mud Festival. You remember the mudfest at cofo? This is that multiplied by 50. There are full on obstacle courses, mud slides, and mud bath basins. I’m hoping we can find a place to stay…because we’d love to join the fun!
Like I said before…sometimes it feels like coming here is a dream come true. Sometimes though, its not as great. There are a few times that I’ve gone to class…and thought…what am I doing here? These kids don’t even speak English, or if they do, there’s still quite a bit of communication lost. It’s crazy that I’m standing in this classroom, I haven’t ever taken a teaching class, let alone taught before. And…to top that, Im teaching ENGLISH. The other day I was teaching one of my classes about coniferous and deciduous forests. I’m ashamed to say I had to google it. Every day has been a learning experience as well as an awesome grade school review on English methods.
The other thing is being so far away from important events. I have missed one of my closest friends having her third baby, another friends engagement (we will also miss the wedding), and most importantly, my sisters pregnancy. Thank goodness for skype…but it’s still not like being there in person. What I would give to go home for the birth of my first blood-related niece/nephew! Unfortunately someone has to die for us to be able to go back to the US outside of holiday time-off. The experience of not being able to just ‘go home’ it a little tough, but I’ll make it.
We have about a month and 12 days before our next ‘new’ adventure. We get to go to Bali for 9 days! We’re so excited about the opportunity another foreign place brings. :) We’re ready for sightseeing, sea kayaking, sailing, and GREAT indonesian food. I’m sure I’ll do a few blog updates before then, but stay tuned!
Last but not least…there are quite a bit of every day experiences that are hard to explain..yet quite humorous. I recently found a blog from a girl that lives in Korea…I’m not sure if she’s teaching or what she’s doing. She has a way of creating posts that are to-the-t exactly what foreigners go through while being here. I’ve had quite a few laughs. Her blog is kikinitinkorea.tumblr.com. Be forewarned, she does have posts with foul language…just telling you out of common courtesy.