Friday July 6th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NbUio2APNY&feature=related “Picturesque” -Chase Coy
Elementary all-school test day. Poor kids are so run down with studying! We had a movie day for all our classes. Kind of a come and go if you want to watch the movie and hang out with Ally and I. Can I add opening bags of chips and can of soda and being a jungle gym to my resume? I think so! Kiddos just wanted to stay after the movie and play rather than go home, study, watch t.v. or go to another academy. I don’t blame them. Ally and I…well we’re really fun! 😉
Off at 3:30. Nap time for me! Then a lovely pasta and wine dinner with a new friend from South Africa. She is super sweet and actually lives in my same building. Looks like I have a new country to visit in the world with my own personal guide! A rainy evening, but relaxing just the same.
Was then invited to go to Gwangali Beach with my Cafe Muse friend, and Sarah for a late night (11 p.m!) coffee on the beach. A magical site to see: neon lights shimmer in the melodic waves splashing against my feet and the rain sparkles against the city lights…all my favorites in one…rain. city lights. beach. coffee. friends. I’m one lucky girl! Home at a late 3 a.m. then a wonderful skype chat with a close friend and her amazing kiddos til 5 a.m. because the coffee kept me up. Only a few hours of sleep before my lazy day of brunch, nap, and reading.
Saturday July 7th
Had brunch with Jen today. It was lovely! On my way back back stop in an antique shop that actually had Yankee Candles. The lady offered me tea while I looked around.
Insert 2 hour nap here.
Tonight Sarah and I cooked dinner then decided to hike up to the waterfall to have dessert and a beer. We hiked for a good 20-25 minutes along a road through a semi-wooded area that ended up being quite trafficked with cabs and scooters…we passed a few restaurants and dimly lit bars and closed cafes. With no sign of the waterfall in site, only the sounds of the rushing river. So we walked. We eventually came to the site…it was rather dark, but we thought oh well…then we got closer and saw the rock formation that she could’ve sworn was the waterfall, but there was no water running down the rocks…what the heck. We called our other friend who then confirmed that yes, the waterfall was…FAKE! @#^(&^. Seriously. A fake waterfall. We still had our cheesecake to eat and thought that a random picnic table outside a meat restaurant overlooking the river with a couple porch lights would be an excellent spot to enjoy our dessert. Then we walked back and had soju slushies with a complimentary fried egg and crunchy rice snacks.
Sunday July 8th
Woke up today to go to the beach. Taxi. Bus. Taxi. Beach. Lovely sun was finally out! More clouds and rain than I’ve ever seen. But I guess we are in “rainy” season. Quite a change from the beaming Arizona sun. Had the chance and got some sun back on my skin! We decided to go to the beach that locals usually only go to since it would be quieter. Fail. Today was “water park day with a concert!” So busy and loud and definitely not what we were expecting! haha!!! We stayed and luckily the waves drowned out most of the sound check noises. After a couple hours, got an ice-cream toast, (my fave coffee shop in Gimhae also has one overlooking the ocean!) and hung out inside for a bit. Back outside for another hour or so. Beach Observations: do not swim signs don’t actually mean no swimming, we were two of maybe 5 people in bathing suits- everyone else had umbrellas or was covered in head to toe…we often saw sweatshirts, sweatpants, hooded shirts and long sleeves! I’m not kidding.
Took a cab ride through Busan city. Quite enjoyable and was able to see a lot more neighborhoods, actual housing instead of high-rises, and cool back streets. Back roads housing and corridors with funky brick steps and brightly colored gates leading up to a cool “Korean” styled roof-top…love the character. Though my daydreams of how romantic and sexy living in a high-rise must be, being able to see over the coast or down at the city lights and party below or watching the sun just over the horizon waking up or going to sleep…then I flash to my quaint cottage, charming in it’s own way… with a teal gate and bricks steps leading up to a mangled garden of vines (the real secret to this rustic abode is the rooftop terrace…) just down an alley hidden between an antique shop and a bookstore…I love driving through neighborhoods and imagining what it must be like to live there.
Dropped off in the middle of the city and hunted for O’Taco. An “Authentic” Mexican food restaurant. We found it! DELICIOUS! And definitely very Authentic…excellent guacamole, tacos, burritos, chips/salsa…and margaritas! The people here were really nice too. For those of you looking for it…Exit 3 off of KSU…walk past Almost Famous and Blue Monkey- almost to the end of the road…it’s a white building on the left with a nice patio.
Grabbed a cup of cherries for the bus ride home outside the subway stop at Sasang, headed home, killed the massive bug in my apartment with mold cleaner, then went to bed after a fun-filled “Krazy Korean” weekend.
Monday July 9th
HAPPY 10 MONTHS IN SK to me!!! And Happy “a whole card deck” Birthday to my Dad!
Can’t believe I arrived in this land 10 months ago…probably the fastest and slowest 10 months of my life. Standing in the shower tonight that soaked the whole bathroom and the water drizzled from the attachable hose, hoping the tp wasn’t sopping wet by this point; after cutting my market fresh vegetables on the floor of my bedroom/office/closet/living room because there’s no counter space in the kitchen, ending a day of teaching the funniest, most adorable kids I have ever met- knowing exactly how to handle myself in the classroom…I can’t believe I walked into this tiny space I now call my home at 3 a.m. and had no towel to dry off with after 25 plus some odd hours of traveling, getting off a plane then getting on a bus to where I thought was the middle of nowhere to place I now call “home…” then standing in front of a bunch of kids who I didn’t know how I would remember all their names…I know that in the next 55 days of teaching I will shed tears wondering who will teach “my” babies, and who will hug them and who will give them high-fives, or who after challenging them for 30 minutes, will let them play a game for 20…divide that by 2- for 2 schools- and I have only Half that amount with each class. Knowing I have been cherishing the time spent with my kids, and treasuring it even more in my last two months…it’s been an incredible experience…and I have 2 months left!
How I survived you may ask? Laughs. Smiles. Hugs. Friends. Yoga. Coffee. Wine. and the Support of my amazing friends and family back in the Western world. I truly cannot express my gratitude for your prayers and encouragement, knowing this year would be hard and having the faith that I could do it…knowing this is what I’ve always dreamed of doing: living and working in another country. I can’t wait to see what the next adventure will be!
Thursday July 12th
Yesterday I walked into class with my curly hair down and my co-teacher says to me…”Oh, Megan! Hair so cute today…like a baby lion’s!” (oh dear…had to giggle just a bit!)
Last night Sarah and I celebrated my 10-month-in-South Korea with souffle and sangria…my new favorite; patio seating with Eiffle Tower pictures for the backdrop you woulda thought we were in Paris…
What a rainy week…was missing my sisters a lot and home in general. Sometimes the rain just puts me in a missing mood, but on the upside have received a few thoughtful emails from friends and family I hadn’t heard from in a while…such a delightful surprise to read their words and feel the love. I expressed my rainy mood to a friend and prayed for sunshine last night…
Don’t know how it happened, but after a night of tossing and turning I looked at the clock- 4:43 a.m. Got up and decided to go for a run…the birds were already singing and the sky light, didn’t know if the rain would start again so I left my ipod at home. Morning sound track of stillness and chirping, occasional rush of river water as I crossed a bridge…love it when I can rush through empty streets usually bustling with color and noise…(not that the excitement bothers me…just nice for a change) speaking hello to the elderly passing by in foreign words…humidity dripping from every part of me (the two years of Arizona in me is saying- what. the. heck. is this?)…my mind flashing back to early morning humid runs along a red dirt track in Africa…think the last time I felt similar humidity was five years ago when I would go running with this cool guy named Matt at 5-6 a.m. and bring up the sun almost every morning during my study abroad semester in Kenya…sometimes it’s good to relish in happy memories like these. Running helped clear my sprinting mind and my sprints calmed my focus.
And I got my sunshine for the day! God is Good. All the time.
Didn’t miss the Gimhae bus, though I thought I almost missed it…after my 5 a.m. I will admit I fell back asleep after a shower, then dragged myself back out of back to actually “begin” then day… yummy kiwi and french toast.
Gave my seat up to an elderly woman. Everyone…literally everyone, I looked! was on their cell phones except me, and she was desperately trying to hang on during our rollar coaster ride. Turns out, I then snagged a window seat when someone else got up to exit.
Arrived in Gimhae. Skyped with my lovely sister, then headed to Starbucks to get my co-teacher a smoothie and me an iced-coffee. “Modifying” drinks here is a bit challenging…I was really craving an iced coffee with vanilla and soy milk so I asked for it. The guy was super chipper and even though he gave me a strange look, I got my “modified” drink! Yay!
Then started my mini walk to the school- already drenched in sweat- ew! Today I didn’t care…just so happy it was sunny out. 🙂 Went to my usual GS25 station and grabbed some water…the guy that’s always there is so nice! Don’t know if he understood when I said “Have a great day,” but he definitely makes mine with his kind smile and attempts at English.
Kids were amazing as usual, challenging yoga class, and then a couple drinks with a dear friend tonight. I am so blessed in this country so far from familiarity.
|my beautiful friend, 선 영, who took us to the beach|
|my friends are lovely.|
|the bridge changes colors…so cool to see in the water|
|kids splashing in the fountains.|
|my welcome home crew
most afternoons as I walk into the neighborhood
I’m greeted with,
“hi, hi, hi” followed by “bye, bye, bye!”
|bi bim mandoo…not as good as the specialty shop, but still ok!|
|celebrating 10 months with sangria and chocolate
at our French Cafe