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  • It's not ALL sunshine and smiles in South Korea!

    I realized that all of my posts, to date, have been really positive and may make it seem as though Steve and I are just on a wonderful vacation in South Korea. It may seem as though we live in a world where nothing ever goes wrong and that we are always skipping merrily around, holding hands, and smiling. Most days we are really happy and having a really amazing time and those are the things I blog about. However, there are bad times wherever you live and in the fear of sounding like one of those bragging and super positive Christmas letters (that some people really dislike) I will talk a little bit about some of the negative things and some of the bad experiences that we have had thus far.

  • Q & A

    Before we left the states, we were asked many questions about our decision to pick up and move to South Korea. I could not answer most of the questions, because I did not know the answers. I mostly answered these questions by saying, "I don't know, I think everything will be just fine, I am very excited." Now that I am here,  I think that I am able to answer most of the questions. I want preface this by saying that I am not doing this to be rude, I am genuinely answering questions that I simply could not.
    Main Question: "Will you be safe?"

  • Seoul, good for the soul

    At the Seoul KTX station I tried to remember every moment of our 3 day vacation and write it all down, every last detail. By the end of the trip Steve and I were exhausted, travel weary, brains overloaded, stomachs full, but overall happy to have explored a tiny bit of one of the coolest cities in the world. I will give you a quick recap with some photots. Departure from Jinyeong station.
    waiting for the train

  • we live in an apartment!

    A week of many changes is underway. First of all, the two other foreign teachers at our school left. We had a goodbye dinner for them at a delicious Italian restaurant called Bruschetta in Changwon Monday evening. There was much sadness as we all said goodbye to them. Also, two Korean teachers are leaving this week. There are many changes going on in the school. Next week starts the beginning of the new school year with new classes and new students. Tuesday was our first day teaching alone. There was a very strange feeling as we arrived at the school yesterday. The shoes of our fellow foreign teachers were not on the shoe shelves and their slippers were still there. The teacher break/prep room was quiet and empty. There was a strange void. A bouquet of flowers from winter festival lay on the table, slowly wilting. Despite the short time spent with these teachers, we had formed an attachment. Many meals, fun times, and conversations had taken place over the past month.

  • Snowy Valentine's Day and weekend recap

    Today there is no school! It has been snowing all day! I walked to Top Mart to get some ramen, tuna, and orange juice. I was excited to walk around in the snow and to get some alone time. I realized in Busan, this weekend, that I hadn't done anything/gone anywhere by myself since I have been in Korea. Sunday morning I went to the grocery store, Kim's Club, to get breakfast stuff. Today, I walked to Top Mart. Going to the grocery store is something I really enjoy, no matter where I am in the world. I like to take my time and look at everything. It is really good alone time for me. Today as I walked to Top Mart I smiled to myself and everyone that I passed along the way. I felt so happy, I felt like a kid again! Kids were off school and playing in the snow. I said "hi" to a group of teenage girls with umbrellas. They were surprised that I spoke to them and giggled and smiled. I asked if they were off school and they said yes. I told them to have fun.

  • superbowl

    Monday night Steve and I watched the Superbowl in our hotel room. It was the first big event/holiday in the states that we missed. It was the first time I really felt the sting of how far away we are from family, friends, and everything that we know. We waited almost a whole day to watch this event. We avoided facebook and hurried home after work Monday to watch the game. We stopped to get a cheese pizza and Korean style fried chicken carryout (the most American things we could find at the time). In our hotel room with steelers shirts on and terrible towel nearby, we ate our chicken and pizza and began to watch the game. As Christina Aguilera belted out the national anthem and we saw the fly over, I began to cry. I wasn't sure why even and it surprised me as I had been very excited to watch the game. I have never cried during the national anthem or any sporting event before and I have never really been that patriotic (this is not to say that I don't like America).

  • Survival Techniques

    Today is Monday of our third week at work.  The first week we didn't do too much, mostly just observed the teachers who work here and learned our way around.  These past two weeks we've been spending working one-on-one with several students, giving English lessons more or less.  Work is going well, but it has taken some getting used to a new schedule and new responsibilities, just as with any new job.  We are getting the hang of things quickly though and soon enough we'll be ready to take over full teaching responsibilities in March.

    We were talking the other night about finally feeling like we were getting out of "survival mode", meaning that we were finally feeling comfortable with getting around here and not feeling like total strangers in a strange land.  I thought I might write a little about what we did to survive so that anyone else doing something similar might find some information and those just reading along with our experiences can know what we are up to.

  • Food!


  • Korean village

    On the way home from Sacheon, we stopped at a traditional korean folk village. It was amazing! At first, I didn't think that anyone lived there. How could that be possible? I thought that maybe it was just a replica village. However, after walking around and peeking behind fences, we were able to see people outside hanging clothes and doing other various daily living chores. It is amazing to think that people still live this way in such a developed country. It was strange to see cars parked outside of these little houses.  I felt like I had traveled back in time to catch a glimpse of life in the past.
    Here are some photographs of the village.

  • New Year!

    When asked to go to a Korean home for a traditional Korean meal and new year celebration, we were hesitant and nervous. After some thought, we graciously accepted the offer. Our Canadian co-workers accepted the offer as well. The four of us met Eddie, a very cool Korean man (about our age) at our school in Jinyeong to make the drive to Sacheon. We drove about three hours to Sacheon in a very awesome Kia. The traffic was insane as everyone was driving to the country to visit their family, it seemed. We arrived at Sacheon and met our Korean host family. Afterwards, Eddie took us to a migratory bird observation place, where we hiked and took in some beautiful views of mountains, ocean, and sunset!

 

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