Edit Blog Post
Published: November 3rd 2006
School picnic at Odongdo Island
So, what have I been doing since my holidays ended, you might ask? Well, there is a lot to catch you up on there, too. That's what happens when one doesn't write in one's travelblog for about a month. Tomorrow, I'm going to Seoul to meet a Dutch friend of mine who is coming to visit for about a week. We met in Ireland where we studied abroad together (you can actually read about him in the early entries of this travelblog :-)) and traveled together. I'd say he's my best friend from Ireland, so it'll be great to see him again, show him around, and have a good time. Plus, it's my first visitor from beyond Korean borders--woot!
As for the two to three weeks between Busan and now, I've been quite busy. I'm still volunteering at the orphanage, although my busy weekends have made me miss a couple weeks of volunteering at Dong Baek Won (and going to church. Yes, I swear it wasn't an intentional move to avoid going to more membership classes!). The weekend after Busan, another Fulbrighter (Melinda) came to visit me in Yeosu, and I had a blast. It was great to show her
School picnic at Odongdo Island (I think those are some of my students standing on the rock)
around, talk in fluent English again, talk about our futures, etc. The Friday she arrived (the 13th) was our school picnic, so that was a great day. Everyone met up at one of the local parks (the 2nd-year students, other teachers, and I to Odongdo Island--a beautiful island with great walking trails toward the western part of Yeosu, I think... the 1st-year students and other teachers to Dolsan Park), walked around, relaxed, and ate a picnic lunch (for me it was kimbap (like sushi rolls without the sushi), sashimi (raw fish), fruit, and, oddly, beer-- it was, like, 11 AM. I'm not an 11 AM beer drinker, let me assure you. But, when in Rome...). I won't lie-- I couldn't finish the beer. But, such is life.
After some good walking and socializing with other teachers (and taking pictures with students), I headed home but decided to stop at Dolsan Park to say hi to my host family (at their store), my host sister (on the picnic), my students, and other teachers. So, that was more fun socializing. And then, some of the teachers invited me to an after-picnic picnic, which was held on a little island between Dolsan
My adorable students
School picnic, Odongdo Island
and Yeosu proper (in the strait-like area), where we drank soju, ate dried squid and kimbap, and just had a great time in general. It was nice, too, because some of those teachers I didn't get to talk with very much in the teachers' office. So, a great day!
And then, a great evening! I went to the bus station to retrieve my friend after the after-picnic. When I arrived home (and then met up with my host sister and host family), my host sister said that night she was going out to the countryside with a science teacher and several students to go star gazing. Then, my homestay mom asked if I wanted to go, too.
Well, I'm a real nerd, and, well, Melinda kinda has those tendencies, too, so we took them up on the offer and made a night of going out to the middle of, respectfully speaking, no where and watching stars, naming constellations, checking out star clusters and the moon's surface via a telescope, and just having fun in general. So, that was cool, and it was nice to be with my students, too.
The next morning, Melinda and I wanted to
go island-hopping, but alas, our plans were foiled. The ferries for the outer islands leave at like 6AM. We got back from stargazing around 2AM, I think, and we woke up around 9 or 9:30. So, that was a no go. But, together with my homestay sister, her friend (and my student), and my homestay cousin, Melinda and I took a boat around Dolsan Island to Hyangil-am, my favorite Buddhist hermitage. The views along the way were great, and the hermitage was as beautiful as I remembered (though more touristy on a weekend). Fortunately, Melinda and I were able to go with my homestay cousin to the peak of a mountain nearby (a 20-minute hike from the hermitage) and see a great view away from the small crowd. So, I got another beautiful look at the open sea stretching for miles. Afterward, we went to Dolsan Park for some music entertainment (they have live music every Saturday), and, because I'm a foreigner and stand out and my homestay family runs the Dolsan Park store, the band/group invited me on stage to sing a song (they have a karaoke kind of music machine as well as real live instruments. So, I
More adorable students
With another teacher--school picnic, Odongdo Island
sang "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Not the best picks in the world, I know, but I had, like, two seconds to choose and nothing else I chose showed up on the karaoke machine thing. So, I rolled with it.
That weekend, Melinda went with us to church, so it was nice having someone else there who could understand absolutely 0% of the sermon (minus a "Hananim" or God, or "Yesu Cristo"... you can guess that one). She peaced out after that, and I met up with a teacher and his family who'd invited me to their house for lunch once before. We had lunch again, this time at a restaurant, after which they took me to a couple local places of interest-- the shipyard where they built turtle ships (the famous Admiral Lee/Yi) and the local Buddhist temple (Heungguksa). It was great spending time with them and seeing the places around Yeosu I'd wanted to see for awhile!
So, then another week went by. Last Thursday was a fun day because all the teachers got together and went to dinner, norae-bang (karaoke), and drinks. It was a blast! And that weekend, I
Mr. Kim and I--school picnic, Odongdo Island
tried to go to Dong Baek Won on Saturday but was foiled by the ornery bus system. But, I was refreshed that night by another evening of star gazing (this time to watch falling stars-- I saw two!), this time at Dolsan Park with a lot more students and the same science teacher from school. And, I was also refreshed by--you guessed it-- another chance at stardom! The group doing the live music at Dolsan, asked me to sing again, and, well, who am I to refuse my adoring fans? Okay, not really adoring, but I think maybe the Dolsan Island night crowd isn't used to regular foreigners hanging around. So, this time, I sang "Take Me On" by A-ha. Quite fun. I even danced.
Then, the following Sunday, an English teacher from my school took me to Nagan for the food festival. It was rainy, but the food was delicious, and it was great to spend time with another English teacher (and his daughter, who is my student). It was fun because it was a totally different experience from before. With all the tents and activity, Nagan looked completely different. It was great. Afterwards, we went to another
My students and I
Now at the first-year picnic at Dolsan Park. This picture is actually just in front of my host family's store!
temple and enjoyed looking around, drinking tea, etc. I had a great time! Everyone here is so generous to me!
Okay, phew, I think you're caught up. Any actual thoughts I had on these things, well, I'll get to those later, perhaps. This week, I'm teaching the students about Halloween utilizing many tools including the song "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. I meant to show the music video (gotta love the Thriller dance), but unfortunately, the computer in my classroom is SLOW. So, I'm hoping maybe I can show that next week. This week ended up being just the song, but that's okay, too. It's classic!
Well, I must go pack for Seoul and finish a lesson plan for Monday (I won't have much time to plan while sightseeing)... and it's already 12:30 AM. So much to do, so little time. The story of my life. But, I'm having a blast in the meantime!
Tot: 2.382s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 13; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0441s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb