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Published: March 30th 2007
Here's me on a daytrip with my host father--Yeosu
Welcome, spring! Spring has finally come in full force to my neck of the woods in Korea, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It's absolutely gorgeous, as cherry trees line the drives and outskirts of the school and other places throughout the city. I could easily get used to this. Too bad it will go too soon, and hot weather will take its place.
I am ready for it to be green here, though! I've had about all I can of the gray-browns of winter...
So, a few things to report since I last wrote. Last weekend was mostly uneventful, but it was fun all around. Saturday, I went to Sam Hye Won, the orphanage where I tutor elementary school kids, and ate lunch with some of the kids and staff there. It was an interesting experience because I had no clue what was going on most of the time. I arrived there expecting to go out to lunch with some of the staff members. Then I get taken to the interior of the orphanage and realize we're eating there. I'm helping set the table when all these elderly Koreans start hobbling in the door. And
With my host father--Yeosu
I'm like, huh? I talk to the one person who speaks pretty good English, and she explains that these are some elderly people from the neighborhood that maybe don't have much/any family left, and now and again Sam Hye Won invites them for a meal--to take part in the community and also give service to different generations. I think it's a grand idea, and it gives the kids a chance to interact with older people (a little)--maybe a chance they don't have much of the time otherwise.
So, we fed them first, and then we all ate (kids and staff). Then, I went with one of the staff members to coffee and then a movie (The Painted Veil
with Edward Norton--very moving). I was exhausted by the end, though (maybe I need to get more sleep?), so I went home after that. The next day, I went to church, as usual, where I understood maybe two words of the sermon. Then, my host father told me we should go sightseeing and then abducted me (not really, of course, but he said, "Lets go to ," and I said, "Where?" He said, "." My host mom said, "Oh, great idea!"
I think it's actually called "Baekya-do"... I think...
He said, "Okay, let's go.") to the western end of the Yeosu peninsula... I think I found out it's called Baekdo-ya? Maybe? I'm still not entirely sure. But it was a lovely coastal scene with a lighthouse and everything. I took several pictures, which I'll post here soon, but have yet had the chance.
Later that night (Sunday), I met up with two of my third-year students for another movie (this time Number 23
, a thriller with Jim Carrey, which was actually pretty good). It was really fun meeting with them--they are so sweet, and it's encouraging that they want to learn English and chat with me. After that, home again, home again, jiggity jig, to read and relax and go to bed early.
After all that excitement, the week began as usual. My classes are going well. I'm making my second-year students write poems about themselves, and my third-year students are all doing listening practice tests--week-in, week-out. However, they had a full-length practice test yesterday, so the other foreign teacher and I got the day off and decided to do some more sightseeing. As I'd seen most places already around Yeosu, I suggested we go to Hyangil-am
Baekya-do with my host father
(which, of course, she hadn't seen) because it's probably my favorite place in Yeosu. So, we met up early and took the bus out there, climbed up to the hermitage, and took in the view. It was busier than I thought it'd be for a Thursday, but it was still nice to get away, get some fresh air, and relax.
Then, we headed back into town to do some book shopping, lunch eating, and coffee drinking. After we met together, I went to Sam Hye Won, but this week I couldn't tutor because the students were going to a contrabass/double bass/string bass (the instrument is called all three) concert nearby (the orphanage is near the "old downtown" area). So, they invited me to come along. It was really lovely. I've missed live music/classical music some since I've been here, so it was nice to take part in the arts and share with the kids. And, of course, it was great hanging out with the kids themselves-- they're so cute, and I love working with them/chatting with them/astounding them with my Korean skills/etc. Plus, the staff at Sam Hye Won are so nice to me--I feel quite at home there.
My host father on Baekya-do
So, it was wonderful going together with them.
With so much excitement in my life, you'd think I'd be completely overloaded! Not so--this weekend I'm off again, heading to Jeju-do (again) for a Fulbright teaching conference. So, I get to meet up with 70 or so of my closest friends again, probably the last time we'll be all together like that. It'll be a fun time, and hopefully some good teaching information will be exchanged. I head off for Jeju this afternoon after my last class. I can't wait!
Well, I'll post some pictures soon, but for now I've run out of time. I'll write more after Jeju!
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