on the other side of the world….
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Yang Yang!

[NOTE - this post should come before Mountains, Gramaphones, and Carnivals, OH MY! but, so no one misses it, we have posted it here. Enjoy...]

Our time travel landed us about “2 hours” after we took off, and we basically lost a day of our life, either to the spinning or to the flight. After the slightly scary car ride we arrived in Yang Yang (3 and half hours from Seoul – right after the 14 hour flight :-) at our “Resortel”. We were greeted by some other students who are part of the “Talk” program – a new program similar to Epik for students still in college or recently graduated to teach afterschool classes around Gangwon-do (our province). They are mostly Korean-Americans or Canadian. Their energy and excitement was a sharp contrast to our confusion and exhaustion. In our dazed and confused state we settled into our large condo/room. The room was very large with only a bed and tv, a kitchen with a few dishes, and another completely empty room. We ate a snack then went to sleep after being up for most of a day and half. The Jet-lag (or the rock hard bed) kicked in at about 5:00am when both of us layed awake – waiting for the other to move. Once realized, we hopped up and went out to the beach for a stroll in the Sea of Japan Sunrise. It was cloudy, so we missed most of it, but the walk was nice and we got a better view of our temporary residence. The water was nice and the beach too – although littered with shells from fireworks and beer bottles. The picture above is an abandoned carnival ride outside our resortel. Yang Yang is a tourist destination in Korea – although it doesn’t seem to be thriving anymore :)
We walked for a bit and came back in before breakfast and a free day. We arrived earlier than most of the new teachers so we got a day to hang out with the other early-birds and explore the area. We walked up the hill at the end of the beach to an amazing centuries old buddhist temple. I knew when we came upon the first temple that this was going to be one of those years you never forget. At that point also it finally hit me that I was in the most foreign place I had ever experienced. Scary? – not really. I had a few people I barely knew but already liked and of course Kate to make it all feel comfortable. And of course the sweet old monks who spoke a few words of English and wanted our pictures :) Communication aside – people are people and I started to realize then how much that simple idea will help me adapt and feel at home here. I don’t know how to try to predict anything here.. and that’s amazing. Anyways.. We had a great time at the Temple and got some great pictures. We rented bikes at the hotel and walked around the beach a bit. All in all – a long but nice adapting day. We met many new people as they arrived from their various homes or most recent travels. People from all over the world – The US, Canada, Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and even Thailand. The next few days were full of lectures and events aimed at helping us adapt to Korea and to teaching. As many of us have never taught before this was very valuable, and even for those who have, the general overview and structure of the Korean Classroom was very valuable. We learned fantastic bits of wisdom that have and will help us to be accepted in our schools and respected for our work. Oh and to make sure the kids actually learn something :) Every day felt like a week, and we were always exhausted in bed by 10 or 10:30 but it was a great way to ease into it all. I’ll post more information on exactly what our job is and whom we work for (EPIK) in a later post. This orientation was provided by EPIK for a week before we moved to our respective cities. It felt like summer camp with our friends most days – as we were sheltered from real Korean life for the most part :) I can’t say I was upset by that though. It was a great week… :)


September 9, 2008   Comments Off