Thursday, June 30, 2011

12 Weeks left...

This time last year I had just begun what has proven to be one of the biggest adventures of my life so far. It all started with an email inviting me to work in Abu Dhabi that got me to start thinking seriously about teaching overseas. I mean, I had always wanted to travel and teach, but never thought it was possible. But it was!! Who thought I'd ever end up in Korea?? Wow.

So, here I am with 12 weeks left on my one year contract. The debate now is "Should I stay or should I go?" At the time of this writing, the answer is to stay in Korea. I have applied for positions back home, but the economy is still rough and it is difficult to even get an interview, not to mention an actual job. However, I have had numerous interviews for new jobs in Korea. Just yesterday I received an official contract offer from a private school and I have also been approved for a position with the public school system (EPIK). Decisions are tough, but must be made.

A lot has happened these past 10 months, including the much anticipated arrival of my youngest son, Bryan, in Korea. I'm thrilled at his adventurous spirit and his willingness to hop on my hot pink bicycle and pedal all around Uljin, exploring new places and seeing new things. He is frustrated at not being able to read Hangul, but is polite and the shopkeepers are kind to him. He has visited my school and talked with my students, been fishing in the ocean, rode on the back of my scooter, been to parties and noraebang (Korean karaoke), and experienced some night life in Seoul. Not bad for 10 days in a foreign country as a 16 year old American teenager! Of course, this is a SMALL town and there are no hot, juicy hamburgers or thick, juicy steaks to be enjoyed here. Nor are there any other western English speaking teens. We're taking a short trip this weekend and I plan to surprise him with a hot, delicious, all-beef hamburger. He'll be in heaven!

I'm looking forward to the next 12 weeks and the adventures we'll have. Mud Festival is just around the corner...

Until next time...


From my Korean co-workers and boss, I am always hearing about how I have "many friends". Well, yes, I suppose I do, though only a handful of really close friends. I like to be around people. Because of my travels and networking, I have friends all over the world! I like that!

Recently, one of my friends from "back home" came to Korea for ten days to check up on me...ahem..."visit" (so she says). It was so nice to have someone from home come to Korea and experience my life here. Though we did some touristy things, she really got a sense of what life is really like for me here and how I manage from day to day. What was interesting for me was discovering exactly how much I have learned since arriving here last September, as well as how much more I could possibly learn.

During her stay here, Jen and I visited Gyeongju where we saw the great burial mounds, played in a field of flowers, watched a music concert outdoors, visited the Grotto, and, of course, temples and palaces. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea at one time, so it is a very traditional city with many national treasures and historical things to see.

We spent a good deal of time in Uljin just living life day to day. We were able to go to a party with all of my ex-pat friends, enjoyed dinner with my boss and a Korean couple from town, experienced "Korean Karaoke" aka noraebang, ate street food at the market, and tried Korean barbeque. She visited my school several times, where she has become affectionately known as "Jennifer Teacher". She brought the game Memory, which has become a HUGE hit with the kids of all ages at my school.

We also took a day trip to Pohang and ate delicious crab, visited the shopping street, as well as our favorite tailor, Tailor Joe. He can make anything! Of course, Jen got a one-of-a-kind garment to take back home with her. What a treat for her!

Our final weekend was spend in Seoul. There we visited a Palace and were priveleged to be there over Buddha's birthday and got to see the Lantern Festival. It was a great treat for her and for me!

Sadly, she had to return to the States, but with new memories and a new prospective on Korean culture. It was a privedge and a joy for me to be able to share some of Korea with her. Now, when people comment about how many friends she has, she can share with them about her visit to Korea and maybe convince someone else to try this beautiful land.