Summertime Blues

Trip Start Mar 27, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
JJ's Apt

Flag of Korea Rep.  , Gyeongsangnam-do,
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ann-young-has-EH-yo!

It has been a while since the last blog and of course, a lot has happened in DYNAMIC KOREA. My wonderful summer school session is coming to an end. Tomorrow is my last day of luxury. I have been spoiled by my school during these last four weeks. I have had to teach a total of 10 minutes. And that was volunteer teaching. Due to a change in the course material I was unable to teach any of the classes. They were required by the education office to learn from a certain textbook and that textbook was Hangul/English and therefore it was out of my league. I do feel bad for my cooperating teacher who has had to teach every class these past four weeks. However, once Friday classes are finished she will be relieved and can then enjoy her 4 day summer vacation before we start a new semester on Wednesday. I am excited to get back into the class and enjoy my time with the students. I have not been to the middle school at all these last four weeks so I am getting very excited to see my boys again. They are always a good time!

At the beginning of the summer the family who I tutor for took me to the local mountain (Geumosan) and treated me to a wonderful supper and my first ever Korean style traditional dancing and music. It was AWESOME. I had so much fun I took Eric to the festival two days later. Lucky for me it was a totally different show and this time it was even better. Eric and I had a blast. At the end of the show the whole audience got up and started doing circle dances and chanting random Hangul phrases. And of course Eric and I were the center of the show. All the Koreans wanted a chance to dance with us. It was an incredible experience and certainly one I will never forget. (even if I was chanting something I had no clue what it meant). Right before the end of the show one of the performers said something in Hangul and people started raising their hands as if he was going to pick someone from the crowds to do something. I raised my hand and he immediately picked me. I had no idea what it was for but he pointed for me to come stand beside him. Once I got up there he spoke very little English and all he said was "throw this. In air. High". So he gave me a stick with a circular object spinning on the top and I threw it high and far. Something so simple was a great moment. All the Koreans were cheering and I was excited. The attached pictures will help you get a better understanding. While this was a small performance I was really happy to have gotten the opportunity to experience it. I am getting really excited for the New Years festivities as there are a lot of these performances throughout Korea. Which are much larger!

Eric and I also went down to Icheon to visit a good friend and colleague, Mike Latchford. Mike has had a rough go this past month as he lost his father due to health issues. We had a great time reconnecting and meeting some of Mike's new friends as well as exploring his city. Mike was very appreciative of our visit and plans of Mike visiting Gumi or in the works. It is always a treat to see familiar faces in Korea. In total we have seen 10 UMPI alumni friends and soon we plan on seeing another two.

My cooperating teacher invited Eric and I to go to the beach with her and her son who is 10yrs old. We took the train to the city she lives in and then she picked us up at the train station. What normally should take 90 minutes to get to the beach took us 300 minutes. If you have seen or heard of the Asian "driving style" you will understand that this is very frustrating to them. They like to go as fast as possible from point A to B no matter what is in front of them. They have a 'no mercy' driving rule. Especially for innocent foreigners like me. The traffic was so heavy at one point it took us 2 hours to travel 5km. It was absolutely insane. The amount of people who were traveling to the same beach was unbelievable. We left Gumi at 1000hr and did not arrive to the beach until 1600hr. People were starting to leave once we arrived. However, we had a great time and the drive was certainly worth it. After the beach we went to a very famous all-you-can-eat Sushi and Seafood Restaurant. I was in heaven. But of course, I ate way too much.

This past weekend we traveled to Busan. The same place we did the temple stay. It is the 2nd largest city and very popular for foreigners. We have meet a fellow Canadian who has been in Korea for 5 years and he loves when we visit him. He invited us down to watch the UFC fights and meet some of his other friends. It was a blast. There was a great group of people who were very friendly and had lots of advice on life in Korea. On Sunday we went to a Baseball game. It was the most exciting baseball game I have ever been to. The crowds are so awesome in Korea. 30,000 Koreans cheering from the first pitch to the last out. One of the guys we met from American, Eric, and myself decided it would be a good idea to start the wave. Bad idea! Once we started it they didn't want us to stop. They kept yelling: again, again, one more time", finally we just stopped. However, for our wonderful efforts they fed us food and gave us beer. So I guess I really can't complain can I?! They love their baseball, beer, food and CHEERING. One of the teams had a former MLB player: Karim Garcia. Yanks/Red Sox fans would remember him. He is a Mexican Native who spent 10 years in the majors including a couple years for the Yanks. Speaking of the Yanks, what a great weekend eh? Sorry to all my Sox fans. We have to get our kicks in when we can! They have been limited this year!

It's lunch time and a couple of the teachers are waiting for me. Most of the teachers have quoted: "Tim, let's go eat. Lunch time is happy time". Yes, they certainly love their food! As do I. Lunch time for me is always exciting. It's a huge surprise. It's like buying one of those surprise packs at the convenience store. You never know what your getting. :)

Well All, I hope you enjoy the blog and the last couple weeks of summer vacation!

Take Care,
Tim

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