Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Upwards and Onwards

Thankfully the worst (or best, I still haven't decided) was behind us, leaving us with two relaxed days of biking.  Knowing we had less distance to cover on Friday there was no concern about waking up early for a fresh start but of course most of us were still up with the sun.  Sara and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked down to check out the nearby Watazumi shrine.  Probably the most interesting aspect of the shrine was that the tori (gates) were situated so that as the tide came in and out they changed from either submerged in water or on dry land. After a quiet stroll through the shrine and multiple pictures we made our way back to camp to enjoy breakfast before heading out for the day.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Channeling my Inner Lance Armstrong

Despite the fact that I've only been back at school for just over a month I was more than ready for another vacation, thank you Chuseok.  Recently, the language barrier has been getting to me, mostly for the fact that I can't fully express myself to people around me to whom I've grown fairly close. I sometimes feel like an idiot when I just have to nod or smile as the words aren't there for what I want to say. I know this is a problem that is up to me to fix, and trust me I'm working on it, but it's a slow going process.  Another tic to my annoyance were Chuseok plans themselves, I dropped the ball on planning ahead of time which left me frantically trying to throw something together.  Thankfully I had a few friends in the same boat, both of which were up for anything, and Wink travel had something that caught our eye.  Fast forward a few weeks until 4am Wednesday morning, September 18th and you'll find Sara and I sleeping on the floor of the Busan train station, a small preview of what was in store for us. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Before I left for my adventure in Korea (at the time thinking i'd only be a year) I made two requests of my friends: 1. No weddings and 2. No dying.  I guess it's pretty obvious why the later would be a request anyone would make when they're leaving the country, but are weddings really that big of an event to miss out on? Umm yeah. Actually next years wedding season is a big pull for getting me back to the United States, food, friends, dressing up, pictures, cake, drinking, dancing and who could forget the chicken dance. With this image of a wedding in my head it was hard for me to imagine what a Korean Wedding would be like, especially after hearing that their wedding halls are so affectionately named Wedding factories, and hearing many friends complain about having to attend.  For those reasons I was a bit confused on how I should feel about being invited to my first Korean wedding last winter, so let me explain. 

I like to party ~ with 박재범

I'm not sure if you've noticed but I've kind of adapted to the Korean culture, so it's only natural that I finally got myself to a concert.  A few weeks back I saw the One Hip Hop Festival being advertised, thanks to Jay Park's instagram feed, and immediately sent the link to my friend Caitlin.  I knew she is also a big fan of Jay Park and was hoping she'd be up for going with me.  Unfortunately he wasn't the headlining performer but there was a load of people worth seeing and the headliner wasn't too terrible *cough* Nelly *cough* Thankfully Caitlin was on board  as was our friend Sara, so the three of us were soon (a few weeks later) on our way to Seoul.

15 hours of music, ready for this? 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Have I Really Changed?

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I'll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. 

A year and a half ago I quit my job, packed up my life and said goodbye to family and friends. My decision to move halfway around the world, to teach English in South Korea was met with many different reactions, both good and bad.  Although most of the people I choose to surround myself with are fully supportive of my decision there were those that had their doubts or at least thought I was a little crazy. Although, good or bad they all seemed to agree on one thing, "This will be an adventure that will change your life".  So now after being here for a year and a half, traveling to other countries and taking the opportunity to visit home I'll take a minute to contemplate those changes and make an attempt at explaining  ‘How Living Abroad Can Make You A Better Person’. 

Take a moment to stop and smell the flowers

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Fun Continues...Back in Korea!

It's already been over a month since I've returned to Korea from the motherland - can you believe it?! So what exactly have I been doing? Other than sweating my face off with the humidity here of course. The first two weeks back in Korea my school was technically still on summer vacation, which really means that the kids only have to go to school until 5 o'clock, instead of the normal 10 pm.  Granted classes are a bit more relaxed and if their family has plans they don't have to come, but still - that is not summer vacation. The first week I had to teach summer camp, which was basically showing up around 2 in the afternoon to play games with 20 kids for two hours. Oh and my Friday class wound up being canceled ~ I have it rough here, seriously.  The weekend came and I was ready to get out of town so when my friend 주연 asked me to join her on a trip to Busan I jumped at it. 
지주연 and I on the train