Sunday, February 28, 2016
Before taking off for Europe I wanted to spend one more weekend with Hue, also it was technically his summer break and I couldn't just let him sit in Milwaukee the whole time. If I had thought ahead a bit more I would have planned a real trip, but instead a 6 hour drive north, with stops both in my college town and the twin cities, would have to do. I didn't want to be responsible for a huge group, after all I wanted to have fun this weekend, so my invite extended only to Hue and Jun, both of whom were happy with the plan. To round out the group I invited my cousin Alivia, smart, independent and with a thirst for knowledge, I'm honored when people say we're a lot alike. Given the people I'd be spending the next few days with I had high hopes for the trip.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
After partaking on the end of summer trip with Hue and his friends I realized I had some work to do. These students, my new friends, were now on summer vacation and for the most part hadn't made any plans. I couldn't let them just hang out around Milwaukee, reliant on buses to get them where they needed to go and not knowing what to do with themselves. I started brainstorming ideas and soon had a list of things not only that I wanted them to experience, but things that would be just as fun for me. After parting ways at the end of the field trip I ended with 'See you soon' rather than 'Goodbye', and I meant it.
Friday, February 5, 2016
As it always does summer began to fly past us and before long we were already entering August, Hue was wrapping up his summer ESL courses and I was itching to leave the country. I tried a few times to make plans with Hue but it seemed he was always busy with studying or our schedules just didn't collide. Then one day his response was 'I have the final class trip' and I went out on a limb asking if I could join. I had fun hanging out with just him so wouldn't tagging along on an ESL, end of summer, multi country mash-up be that much more exciting? The correct answer is yes. Thankfully his teachers didn't mind, as long as I was registered and paid my fees, so that's how I found myself on a school bus filled with teenagers from around the world, and a few teachers from UWM. Once again I fell in with the students feeling a sense of belonging more there than with the staff, and many of the students being Korean, I felt like I was back.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
After a summer filled with Milwaukee adventures with Hue and some of his friends it was finally time to venture across state lines and show the boys a bit of what our neighbors to the south have to offer. My friend Shaun (fellow Buksamer) was coming home for a visit, bringing with him his new Korean wife 미진, which of course called for a party. Shaun had invited both Caitlin and myself, both so we could meet his wife and have a little reunion of our own. We figured this was the perfect excuse for a weekend trip to Chicago and wanted to bring Hue and his friend Jun along, thankfully Shaun didn't mind.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
During my first two years teaching in Korea I had multiple students that spoke of the day they'd be coming to visit me in the United States. I of course encouraged these dreams, but aside from a select few, seriously doubted it would actually happen. Then last year, while teaching in Cambodia I got a text from one of my previous students 임희욱. He was asking for advice, which school from a list of 7 he should pick; believe it or not he was going to start studying in America that summer. My jaw hit the floor when I browsed through his choices, there at number 5 was UW-Milwaukee, a short 20-minute drive from my parents. house. I gave him an unbiased review of his options, but also mentioned that Milwaukee was in fact my home-town, although I wasn't planning to be back for a while.