So today is the first day of month 5 in Korea which is the ending of my first semester as a teacher. I never imagined that life would turn out so well, but so far its been five months of easy going contentment spiked with moments of hilarity and excitement. I've traveled to a few places in Korea (including the beautiful Honeymoon Island), been to Taipei and am currently planning my summer vacation in Thailand. I've been hiking, biking, bar hopping, sight seeing, festival going and just generally having a laugh with the girls (sometimes we let the boys come too). Unfortunately I have not yet been bungee jumping because after biking 40 km there weren't enough spots open so I have to wait. We were bitter enough about it to bike the 20 km home with more than a few Cass under our belts but it was a gorgeous day and I can't complain. On a side note it looks like a ridiculous amount of fun and I am going back as soon as possible.
I have been enjoying some great perks at my job such as half-day Wednesdays which will soon turn into "half-day every days" during summer vacation (and the even longer winter vacay!). Other perks include surprise watermelon eating fests, field trips and guaranteed hilarious englishee mishaps at least twice a week. The work weeks just seems to fly by and there is always something fun to look forward to on the weekend (for example, this week its a group adventure south to have a beach bbq for the 4th of july).
I've also begun to get serious about learning Korean. It no longer sounds so scary and foreign and now that I have learned to read and write speaking is getting easier. I have a class in my city once a week and my coteacher has been helping me as well. It is definitely slow going, but I feel like much less of a failure now that I am learning the basics.
So, yes, life is good and I am happy, but it's important to realize how fleeting this all is. Maybe in a way that's a part of why it feels so good. This is not a life I'll have forever and even while I'm here it is continually changing. This August a lot of close friends of mine will end their contracts and head home. The same will happen again in February while I am making some tough decisions of my own. For now I plan on enjoying every moment of this ridiculous journey. Korea has it's flaws and sometimes it is down right odd, but I've always had an affinity for the quirky so I'm fitting in just fine!
I recently came a across a list of "You know you've been in Korea too long when...." In honor of month 5 I'll share a few of my favorites. Also, for a glimpse of life in Seoul (a hilarious one at that) check out this video: "Kicking it in Geumchon" It is so accurate it scares me a little.
So finally the list (with a few additions of my own)...
You know you've been in Korea too long when...
...you don't mind paying more for coffee than for dinner.
... a roll of toilet paper at the dinner table doesn't bother you.
... you like to cut your food with scissors.
... you don't event nottice the misspelled signs in Englishee
... you know the name of at least five Korean celebrities and have downloaded at least 10 Kpop songs
... you hate Japan for no apparent reason.
... you bow to all your white friends
...you enjoy bad tasting instant coffee in luxury settings (or anywhere really).
... you wouldn't dream of wearing shoes in your house (gross!) and you find it perfectly acceptable to wear slippers at work.
... you've bought everything they sell on the subway.
... you can pronounce "hyundai" correctly
... you start using Konglish in general conversation
... you think any apartment bigger than 10 square feet is HUGE!
... you stop being surprised after laboring up a mountain for two hours and running into a young woman all dressed up in heals and a young man in a suit and tie.
... you're used to getting shoved out of the way by frail looking old ladies.
... you don't bother lining up for anything.
Thanks to whoever wrote these!!!