Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting back to .... normal?

The view out of what will hopefully be my new apartment soon

Comfortably strange.  A good description for living in Korea.  When I returned to Jeju after an 8 month visit home, it felt like i'd never left.  There was a new building or two and a McDonald's where only a parking lot stood before.  But Waco seemed to have changed more than Jeju and felt more foreign to me the last time I dropped by.  I slipped back into Jeju life as easily as putting on a favorite shirt.  Same fun.  Same difficulties.  Same island.  Except for a few key differences.

The biggest is my new school.  My private school appears to have fantastic hours and small class sizes.  Right now the hours are 2:30-7.  They change randomly every month or two but thanks to the small student population, it doesn't look like they'll be too bad.  The biggest class size I will have when I start July 5 is 5 students.  There are even a couple private lessons.  Decidedly different than my Prague privates but privates non the less.  I spent 1 of 2 days shadowing classes yesterday.  The double takes many of the students did when they entered and saw me were priceless (think Looney Toons level).  One of the girls even shyly gave me some chips as a gift.  It was extremely sweet.

I've also found a new apartment.  It's on the 7th floor in a brand new building.  It's 1 block from city hall.  Perfect.  And it's 50 ft from the bus stop.  From there Vicky and I can catch the bus for a 10 minute ride that drops us right in front of our schools.  Double perfect!  It's big enough to comfortably house us both with our own sleeping rooms.  The view is great.  We can even get a cross breeze going (a luxury for those of us who've lived in one window studios).  It's actually so new that it won't be ready until probably this weekend.  Hopefully too the new building will not have trouble with mold or mosquitoes like my last one did (mold may have been the reason I was sick so much more last year than I normally am).  All in all, i'm excited to move in.  A couple pictures are included here.

Add to that Vicky arriving a week from saturday and the weirdly cold summer weather and it makes for an interesting return.  I'll send out another update when I actually get moved in and have the place.  For now i'm crashing on my friend Jeb's floor.  He has kindly allowed me to sleep, eat and keep my stuff here until the apartment is ready.  I'm extremely grateful.

Oh and for those of you who hoped that maybe the Koreans had stopped serving stuff with eyes and teeth still attached I say HA and HA again.  They're as kooky as ever.  At least this one tasted good :)

 Wasn't my dinner pertty? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Once More Unto the Breach

Here we go again

Hey everyone.  Since I know you've been missing me (not true) and my updates (definitely not true), I have good news for you (yes I mean YOU).  After an 8 month hiatus, I am returning to Jeju Island in South Korea.  And this time i'm not going alone.  Meet Vicky.  My girlfriend of 6 months and soon to be fellow traveler.  

Say hi everyone

 Here she is looking out the window

Here she is smiling with me

 Here she is looking skeptically at me (she does this a lot.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with me)

For the next year we will be living and working in private schools called Hagwons in Jeju City.  The main differences between this and where I worked before are the hours, 2-8pm instead of 8am-4:30pm, and the fact that this is not a public school.  I explain some of the other differences later.  We will be teaching at two different schools that are located approximately 100 yards apart.  Very convenient.

My job starts 3 weeks before hers which is wonderful since it allows me to get there early, get set up and be there to meet her when she arrives to ease the transition.  I will be leaving around June 20th.  I'll post on here when I have exact information.  I'm really excited and can't wait to have someone to share my travels and experiences with.  Making good memories together is always better than alone.

For now I leave you with final shot of Jeju and hopefully a sense of excitement at what's to come.