So, as of last Friday, I’ve been in Korea for seven weeks. There are days when it feels like it hasn’t been that long and days that feel like it has been longer. I’ve been doing a lot of teaching, which I’d imagine is no surprise, but I’d like to again express my sincere respect for educators… This can be one of the most frustrating and/or most rewarding jobs someone ever performs. I’ve just come off of one of the most difficult weeks (of student discipline) in the memory of my co-workers (who have been teaching there for years). I’d like to say I kept my cool and didn’t let it affect my teaching, but it definitely did. Having students who so blatantly did not care and were using our program as an excuse to get out of school was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever experienced. Off all of the age groups that I struggle with, middle school is probably my worst. Within my own experience of that age, I have more regret than almost anything else, but no way of communicating to them how they can avoid those same mistakes. I’ll figure it out eventually, and my primary job is to teach English, so as long as I can do that, things will work out.
Life has been fairly repetitive, as life tends to be once one enters into the regularity of 9-5 employment, but I’ve gotten to have a few adventures since I’ve last posted. A week ago, a friend and I went up to Seoul to pick up some books he purchased, and I got to spend the day navigating the subway system up there. I’m looking forward to going again and actually taking in some of the sights up there, but getting the books through several subway transfers was an adventure in and of itself. Just yesterday I went to Korean waterpark with some friends, and let me tell you, that place was PACKED! I’ve heard stories about places like that being crowded, but the sheer volume of people was enormous. So, for future reference, if you are going to a waterpark in Asia, be prepared to have minimal personal space, even when trying to navigate the not-so-lazy river. A few days go I also went to the International Health and Well-Being Food Expo here in Cheonan. That was a lot of fun, but there wasn’t much food there that I would have called “health food”… more like soul food (Side-note: I GOT GYROS!!!!!). Korea, the only place in the world where even the health food is fried. (Check out these giant beans):
I have probably mentioned this before, but Korea is pretty much composed of my ideal geographic features: forests, hills, and valleys (often times with rivers, streams, or canals running through them). There is so much beautiful scenery here, even with all of the urban sprawl necessitated by a numerous but densely packed population of 50 million in a space the size of the state of Indiana, but covered in hills, so flat space is at a premium. They do a very good job of nesting their buildings with the hills and the hills with their buildings, but sometimes it can block the view.
I continue to be very thankful for the friendships I’ve been able to develop since coming here, and look forward to continuing to develop them. I am surrounded by so many amazing and wonderful people. Life is good here in Korea, even when your middle schoolers give you trouble.
That’s all for now, peace unto y’all,