Monday, July 30, 2007

One Year Reflections


A few months ago, when I was making my decision to stay in Korea for another year, Ryan asked me something like, "What have you learned from Korea....What from Korea will you carry with you?" My answer went something like, "I've learned that I miss and appreciate my family and home." Maybe my reason behind this is because Korea seems to be such a family oriented culture, I miss having that part around me. Maybe also since its tough to be away for a full year.

I think I've grown as a person quite a lot. I've learned how to deal with people in ways I've never dealt with before....bosses, friends, students. I think the job of a teacher is a wonderful thing to teach anyone to become a better person. Kids are some of the harshest of all judges, but they can also be the most forgiving.

Living on the island can be a great life. Sometimes I feel like a king riding around on my motorcycle chariot. I can do anything or go anywhere I want. I can even do nothing if that's my fancy for the day or week. The work load is grumbled about, but in reality, its pretty posh....especially when you compare it to most Korean's.

Korean culture seems to be quite difficult to break into without a bit of a grasp of the language, which will be a focus of the next year. I'm inching my way into it little by little and its quite rewarding. I hope to say at the end of next year that I've learned something from Korea proper.

Friday, July 27, 2007

One Year

According to my blog, I've now been in Korea for one year. I can't believe it! Sometimes it seems as if time has gone by so slowly, and other times it feels like it's flown by. Here is my first picture of our new teacher, Danielle from Canada. She's standing on the front right side, next to Michelle. Heather and Rich (seated) are friends who teach at a different academy on the island. Next week, Ryan will be heading off on new adventures, Danielle will start teaching, and I'll be starting my new contract. Maybe this weekend I'll write about a few of the things I've learned from my year and what I hope to get out of the next year.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sidewalk Sellers

Here's a lady that we ran across at the start of a hike in Gyeongju. She didn't want me to take a picture at first, but after a bit of bartering for some cucumbers, she let me. I think it was worth it for the smile.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family Trip to Gyeongju and Andong

Here's a sampling of pictures from our trip to the mainland. It was a fantastic trip and great to get to see a bit of mainland Korea. Michelle spent a lot of work putting the trip together and we had a great time. First we went to Gyeongju. This city is the old capital of the Silla dynasty that united Korea into one country a thousand years ago. In Gyeongju, we stayed in the fancy resort hotels and toured the famous Buddist temples. There seemed to be quite the theme though that much was destroyed by Japanese invasions then rebuilt in the 1950's to 1970's. As old as Korean culture is, I guess I didn't expect to see such new looking buildings. After Gyeongju, we went to Andong. Here, we stayed at a Traditional Folk Village. It was great! We stayed with a family in a sort of bed and breakfast where they fed us and we slept on the floor in the huts with a straw roof. At night they fed us some home brewed rice wine and in the day we had a guy who drove our car around giving us a tour. The highlights for me were to make our own paper in a traditional paper making factory and to see the traditional mask dance. All in all, it was a great trip and I can't wait to go back to visit the mainland!

A Buddhist temple near Gyeongju

A Confucian University near Andong

Our Hut in the Folk Village in Andong

Fish Soup Breakfast on the Porch

Traditional Paper Making Factory in Andong

Traditional Mask Dance in Andong

Traditional Mask Dance in Andong

Lotus Flowers in Andong

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back Home again in Jeju

I Just got back from the trip to the mainland today. It turned out to be a fantastic trip. Here's a picture of the happy CDI family looking over the folk village in Andong that we stayed at. I'll post more pictures and stories tomorrow.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


We're having a CDI family vacation! Due to Middle School exams, Michelle cancelled classes and all of the staff is going on a trip to the mainland! Me, Michelle, Ryan, Brad and his wife and their 1 year old baby are all going to Gyeongju and Andong for the next 4 days. Gyeongju is the ancient capital of the Silla dynasty (57 B.C.-A.D. 935) before the capital was moved to Seoul by the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910). Andong is a place renowned for its traditional culture. The trip will be a bit of a history tour, and Michelle will give us a bit of a taste for the culture of Korea outside of the English Schools!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rainy Season

It's officially the rainy season for the next few months. "Rainy Season" means the weather is overcast with extremely high humidity and always the chance of rain. Really, it means that the weather forecast is totally useless. You can pretty much count on the weather being completely unpredictable. It can be completely sunny, then a couple hours later, there will be a downpour. I guess there will just be a lot of rain and being lazy indoors.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Beach Part Deux

Well, here's a picture from the beach as promised. Don't they look like they're having fun? We got a whole crew together and met another whole crew down at Jungmun beach on the south side of the Jeju. Jungmun is by far the best beach on the island, with a nice empty hidden beach around the corner from it. The waves are often high there and we had our try at some boogyboarding! I'd love to give surfing a try there too if I can borrow someone's board!

On a side note, after talking to the girls in the photo I learned that they both know one of the counselors (Blaize) that I worked with at Camp Voyageur in Minnesota! What a coincidence! They knew him from working at a camp in Utah! Wow!