So many funny and interesting things have occurred in the last month. It’s finally spring, and today is actually quite hot. By no means am I complaining about it, its awesome. Since my last post I’ve done a lot more exploring around Gangwon (the northern region of Korea) and gotten acquainted with my own town a lot more. I made a trip to the beach, and seeing the ocean rekindled my spirits greatly. School has been the usual roller coaster of great days where you feel like a combination of Teacher of the Year and B-list celebrity due to your foreign appearance, as well as the days where things don’t go as planned, and you wonder why anyone would want to learn English in the first place. I’m learning to find a balance throughout the days of the week, the different teachers and students I work with, and the three schools I teach at. With all that commotion during the week I’m surprised I have energy at all to go traipsing up and down the country, looking for tombs, tea fields, and Buddhas but that’s why I’m here, so obviously it has to be done.
I’m posting some photos of interesting things I’ve seen or funny things that have happened since my last entry. That plate of chicken feet was truly unpleasant. The texture threw me way off and I just don’t get why you would want sweet and sour chicken feet when you can have sweet and sour chicken. WHY???
Also, one day, I go back to my desk after teaching a class and in my back pack (which I had left open) someone had placed a dried squid in a bag with my name written on it. It was really weird/thoughtful/ hilarious. The 2nd grade teacher had gone to a seaside fishing village over the weekend and brought each teacher a squid as a gift. How sweet. Its still in my freezer, I don’t really know what to do with it so if anyone has any ideas let me know. All I’ve done is draw it so far. Koreans really love giving gifts and they also love snacks, so people give you food all the time. Even strangers. That’s one of my favorite things about Korean people actually, because I too love snacks and communal snacking. Imagine every person you encounter at work/on the street/in the park is an old Greek grandmother who thinks you need something to eat or a piece of candy. It’s really nice. It makes you want to give away snacks too.
This past weekend was particularly busy because it was the Yeongwol Festival, commemorating King Danjong’s Legacy and paying respects to his tomb (which is down the street from my apartment) He was exiled to this region for reasons that I can’t remember, and then his uncle decided he needed to be murdered so he could have the throne for himself. He was found dead in the woods by some deer nearby. ANYWAYYYY the festival was really fun, it was much like an American County Fair I guess, but with K-pop concerts, THE BEST FIREWORKS I EVER SAW, better food, and cool traditional costumes. Also no farm animals. So in fact it was much better haha.
We also started having movie nights at Ngozi’s house. We have a long list of films that all need to be watched this year. So far we have crossed out The Fifth Element, Mean Girls, and Stepbrothers. I believe Rush Hour 1-3 is next. I obviously made sure Matilda was put on the list.
Stay tuned for next weeks post, I will have returned from Busan and the Tea fields, with all the latest from the south. This week is Buddha’s birthday (May 3rd) and we all have the week off. So party hard for Buddha everyone 🙂