Monday, August 29, 2005

Now that a few days have past and the jetlag is residing, it's time to update my little readers.
My weekend was pretty low key. I met two of my coworkers Saturday night for a potluck and a few drinks at one of their friends' apartments. Casual and good for mingling...apparently all of them were out at 'Club night' in Seoul the night before and battling massive hangovers. For those of you unaware, "Club night" is a monthly event where you can buy a pass into a select number of clubs for the all night party. Sounds like a good time - maybe next month.
Anyways, Saturday night was therefore pretty low key. Sunday, I went for a run along the river...I have been told that if you run far enough you'll reach Seoul ...kind of reminded me of the story 'if you dig far enough you'll reach China'...good times.
The trail is really pretty...once you get far enough out and past the high-rises, there are mountains and the river doesn't smell so rank ...ahhh Korea. Later in the day I met my coworker Heather and some of her friends for dinner. Note: Things here appear to be much more Western-ish then down south. Example...I actually saw Dr.Pepper for sale at a restaurant, and someone had real cheesecake at the potluck. I guess living just outside of Seoul does have its perks.
Today was my first day at school. All and all it was good. My students appear to be good and their English for the most part is as expected. Except for my kindergarten class who have amazing English for their age...I teach them from 10am until 2:30 with an 80 minute lunch... It's a a lot more intense then I originally understood. It's like an English immersion program for them ...including math, science, writing/reading comprehension, music, library and of course playtime (all of which I teach)...which is a hell of a lot more then I think I ever learnt in Kindergarten. Anyways, it makes for an interesting day. My other classes are standard and a lot less tiring.
Not much else to report - no photos yet ...I'm a slacker with my camera these days (sorry).
My mate Joanne might be coming up Thursday before she jets off to China. Should be good to catch up properly on the Ulsan gossip. Will keep you posted.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

In the land of Morning Calm

Here I am , back in Korea and living in a land of mountains....well at least a city surrounded by mountains.
My flight was uneventful and surprisingly not as ghetto as I originally expected. My recruiter had booked my flight on Korean airlines, which I had flown domestically and to Japan, but never internationally. My previous experiences included questionable food service (lets just say it was a choice of fishy sandwiches or fishy salads) and corny Korean television that lacked any English subtitles (fine for domestic travel, but something I could do without during a 13 hour flight). Luckily I requested the vegetarian meal (to avoid any fishy entrees) and there were 2 English films and a pretty funny Korean one (avec subtitles).

My recruiter met me at the airport and managed to put me on a bus to Yongin. She is admittedly a little high strung...apparently I had just missed a bus to Yongin which seemed to put her into a frenzy of phone calls and discussions with the lady behind the ticket counter, after which she put me on another bus to Yongin that left 20 minutes later. Not sure why there was an issue - but it was pretty amusing to watch.
I arrived in Yongin, after an hour and a half bus ride. I was soo tired, don't remeber much of the ride from the aiport since I slept most of the way but woke up surrounded by lush green mountains. Thankfully, my director, Mr.Park, was waiting for me at the roadside bus stop.Kind of a funny story here...I actually didn't realize I was at the right stop - my ticket said one thing, but my recruiter told me to get off at another stop (just to add to my already disoriented/jetlagged confusion). The bus had made a few stops already and I was just about to ask someone which stop this was when my director came on the bus and called my name. It's funny beacuse I always feel like the bumbling foreigner...guess somethings never change.

My director gave me a tour of the school and went over a few details with me, then he and his wife drove me to my apartment. They seem like a really nice couple - she bought me apples, bananas, bread and milk for the morning.
My apartment is pretty basic. A lot smaller then my previous one, it consists of one main and bedroom together, a separate bathroom (which is actually quite big) and a narrow sunroom at the front which holds my wash machine and closet. The apartment looks clean and new and is in a low-rise...4 floors (I'm on the third). My neighborhood is all apartments like mine and little restaurants...same as just about anywhere in Korea I guess.
I fell asleep right away last night - kind of in and out of consciousness all day (gotta love the effects of flying)
I took a walk around my 'hood this some groceries and managed to get lost on the way back ( too many small streets that all look the same) in a PC room but it is just down from my apartment.
Tonight I am joining my 2 of my coworkers for a potluck and a party with some other foreign teachers. It'll be good to meet some other teachers and check out the night life.
Going now to sort out some dinner...maybe some bibimbap (rice and veggies)....will blog later.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Korea or Bust

The time has come for my adventures to begin...yet again. I leave for Korea tomorrow afternoon (I can almost taste the soju now).
By "leaving tomorrow" I actually mean my flight is booked for tomorrow...Kelly you called this one...I will be dropping by the Korean Embassy on my way to the airport to hopefully pick up my passport and working visa...ughh, and then I will be leaving.
The family unit will be in tow, so I am sure it will be an emotional goodbye as ever.
Once in Korea, the plan is to meet my recruiter at the airport and then board a bus to Yongin.
Apparently it is a town of about 400,000 people...small by Korean standards...which leaves me questioning exatly how many foriegners there may be...hmmm.
But the pictures I have seen look lovely and I am looking forward to an Ulsan-alternative.

I promise to keep you posted and to keep in touch. Gotta run and finish packing.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A new beginning, new adventures

It has been a long, difficult month since I arrived back in Canada.
I never imagined that I would find myself here. It has taken a lot of practice to begin to let go of the past and truly decide to move forward. I will struggle every day to keep moving forward.
However, as the healing continues, I am moving forward.
I have recently accepted a job teaching in Yongin, Korea ...about 40km south of Seoul.
It looks like a beautiful city, full of mountains and new opportunities.

Here is a link to Yongin City's website :

My position begins September 1st, so for the next three weeks I will be sorting out my working visa and preparing for the next year abroad.
Thanks to my friends in Canada - who have helped me get through the last month. And to those of you still in Korea - I will see you soon.


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain