Published: July 23rd 2007July 23rd 2007
The past couple of days have been a complete contrast with one another. On Sunday, we had nothing to do, and the time passed by so slowly. Today was a completely different story.
Yesterday, we woke up early to meet with our friends, Kim and David (students at Namseoul), so we could get a tour of the campus. Poor Charity woke up around 4am because she hadn’t completely adjusted to the time difference; her room was very neat & tidy by the time I woke up. I had to wake up much earlier because I didn’t get my usual shower the night before. The lights went out early on Saturday (the lights turn off automatically at 11pm; the hot water turns off at 11:30pm...I don’t understand the time difference) so I didn’t get to have a shower.
When we finally got ready, we waited around for our friends. They were supposed to come to our rooms at 9:30 with breakfast, and we were then going to leave. Well, 9:30 came and no one showed up. Ten and 10:30 passed with no sight of Koreans. Finally, they showed up at around 11am. Apparently, they had overslept. I’ve been told
before, though, that their culture is not known for timeliness.
We finally had quite a big breakfast of almond flakes and Korean doughnuts. After that, we headed out for a tour of the campus. I must say that Namseoul has some pretty impress digs. All of the buildings are huge and very modern. Their student center/gym was very impressive; they had a nice workout area, a huge pool, a sauna, squash & racquetball courts, a taekwondo area, an area for Japanese sword fighting, and a massive arena. I really like the on-campus chapel; it is very sleek and modern. It doesn’t look anything like a church back in the US.
They then took us on this walking trail behind the campus called “couple’s hill.” You can only imagine what happens there. We then walked by a forest covered workout area and a spout for spring water from the hills. The highlight of our nature trail walk was when we walked to a Buddhist temple. There were some very lovely buildings and very interesting statues.
We then headed across the street from the campus to some convenient stores where Celestia and Charity picked up some needed supplies. I
bought myself a Korean drink, which I think I am really enjoying. There is a drink machine on our floor, and every drink I have tried so far has been pretty good. The drinks are kind of fruity. There is one that is “corn flavored” that I am a bit leery about trying.
We then headed back to the rooms, and Kim and David got us burgers & chicken from a Korean fast food joint called Lotteria. While we waited, we turned on the TV that’s in our floor’s lobby. We experienced some Korean pop music, many Korean tear fests/dramas, and a funny reality series that has celebrities go through haunted buildings (the guys were in tears before the end of the show). Kim & David came back and had shrimp burgers while Charity and I had some really good teriyaki burgers. Celestia took the chicken.
The rest of the afternoon was horrible. Charity and Celestia went to sleep while I stayed up and did nothing. I did get my internet to start working so that was pretty sweet. Kim and David came back around at about 7 after working on some stuff. They then ordered us some
Chinese food that was extremely good! David took us back to the convenience stores. When we got back, we got some great news. They had taken off the timers on the lights in our hall and gave us remotes for the ACs in our rooms. Then came the bad news - the water was not working in our rooms so, again, no shower.
Today has certainly been very different from Sunday’s laid-back pace. We started the morning by getting the books for our classes and meeting the other teachers. They then scooted us over the auditorium where they sat us in front of all the teachers & students while Dr. Park (the camp’s leader) talked in Korea. They then stuck a microphone in our face and had us talk; that was a bit nerve wrecking. They also told us that classes started at 1:30, but none of us from CN had a lesson or anything ready. They told us not to worry because we would not be using any books, and the time would only be spent introducing everyone. I thought that would be easy enough; although, I was concerned that an hour and fifteen minutes couldn’t be taken
up with introductions.
Well, things turned out a little differently. I tried to get my first group of 13-15 year olds to pick English nicknames and introduce themselves, but that didn’t work out. None of them wanted to talk at all. I tried to get them to answer very basic questions, but they were not responsive at all. It was such a struggle to try and fill all of the time. I think they were a bit shy and unconfident of their speaking abilities. The second group, which was much younger than the first group, was the total opposite. They did nothing but talk, jump, and be rowdy. It was struggle to prevent them from getting bored, to stay calm, or even just to listen. I just gave up and played games with them for the entire time.
I am hoping that I will have a better idea of what to do tomorrow and that things will turn out a little better. I’ve been told, though, by a lot of people from previous camps that I will not know what to do until the last minute; today’s first day of classes and scuttling makes that seem true.
There are more photos below