A Year in Seoul - video by Maddy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Photographic Preview

A glimpse of my time in paradise... Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Phi Phi. I just found out I have another week off of work because I am on quarantine so many more updates are to come...














Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer, that perpetual sneak, has breezed past me yet again in a blur of heat, haze, and sun (sometimes). Teaching summer camp has been a welcome break from the monotony of the national curriculum. Although it is more work, I have enjoyed having complete control over my lessons. I have been able to teach topics like camping, baseball, pirates, oceans, drama, and super heroes. My students and I have played games, sponge painted, written stories, listened to music, and created our own TV commercials. We even had a game of handball out on the playground.

The last week of July I taught at an overnight Gunpo City summer camp for five days. I stayed in a cabin in the mountains and taught cooking class. Making homemade ice cream with 75 students is a complete mess, but its a fun and delicious one. I was exhausted at the end of the week, but I really felt like I bonded with the students there and I had a great time hanging out with the other councilors.

Outside of school I have been spending lazy afternoons by the pool or listening to the drum of the rain on my apartment window. I've gone river rafting, bungee jumping, and to a Manchester United vs. Seoul football game that had Maddy and I ecstatic for the entire game. We couldn't help but join in on the "Fighting!" cheers and the calls for South Korean Manchester United player Park Ji Sung, who sat on the bench until the final 20 minutes. That didn't stop the camera man from showing his face on the big screen every 5 minutes, however. South Koreans sure love their own. Another highlight was when Kpop girl group Girls' Generation performed at halftime. It was a complete surprise and even with several lip synching mishaps, it was awesome!

Vacation time is staggered throughout the summer so there are always friends coming and going on two week adventures. I've had to wait until the very end for mine, but I am finally taking off for Thailand tomorrow. Don't expect any posts for the next two weeks, but expect that when one does come it will be epic!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

FIGHTING!


Let me start off by saying that bungee jumping is not fun...


... It's awesome! Still, I stand by my first statement. It really isn't fun. You get off a bus on top of a bridge and climb a tower until you are standing on a platform 52 meters above a river. Tiny people dot the banks waiting to watch you plummet towards the water as you flail and scream helplessly. You can't help but wonder why we humans feel the need to do things like this. Did I mention that 52 meters is approximately 15 stories?

To rewind for a second I should tell you that as a child I was afraid of everything. Really... EVERYTHING... sky rides, roller coasters, downhill skiing, bees... ESCALATORS. I had to work really hard to become a thrill seeker, but this time I was really testing my limits. So when after watching my friends dive off the ledge and scream bloody murder my number was up, I hated myself just a little. I edged closer to my executioner - I mean "the bungee dude" - and as he tried to attach a giant hook to my back I asked him (through gestures due to the language barrier) why my harness was so loose.

"OOOOH Riiiiiight, I should probably tighten that!" he seemed to gesture back. I then pulled on the harness to show him that it was going to go around my neck and choke me to death. When I put my hands around my neck and made a gagging face I caught the attention of the other bungee dude. His eyes opened wide and he rushed over. Turns out they had put my harness on the wrong way. Greaaat. I was feeling really confident at this point. I then had to make them tighten the leg harnesses. Good job guys.

Finally I was hooked up to the chord and they pushed the slack over the ledge and told me to go stand at the edge.

Wait! No! I don't want to stand over the edge, I don't want to look I just want to close my eyes and run off. They told me I couldn't do this and this time I hated them a little.

"Toes" they said. I edged closer. Why oh why was I doing this? I was afraid to fall off of the very ledge I was about to throw myself off of. It made no sense. I finally had my toes curled over the edge of the platform, but I didn't realize I was clutching the railing. "No touch" they said. It took every ounce of courage in me to let go. "Okay, three, two, one BUNGEE!" said the bungee dude wayyy too quickly. I turned around. The other jumpers had told me they would count for me and damn it, I needed the support. I knew, however, that when they reached one I had to jump. No hesitation. No matter what I was jumping off this platform and if I waited I would only prolong the agony. Sure enough when they reached one I leaped (okay maybe I spasmed) off the edge.

No words can describe what it feels like to plummet towards the ground but I'll do my best. All of my insides seemed to occupy the space that my lungs normally inhabit. I started to scream but it was abruptly cut off. Air was rushing out of my mouth but the sound was gone. I remember thinking that it was weird in between trying to crawl into my happy place. Then, suddenly I was flying upwards and I was screaming again. Loudly. Going up is strange because you really can't feel the movement. When you are high enough that you can't judge your distance above the ground you just feel like you are staying still. I really thought for a moment that I was suspended in the air. It felt really great until I realized I was going to fall again.

I had bounced high enough to look down at the bridge again. I cursed elasticity and shrieked my way through several more drops. When it was over I hung helplessly by my bungee chord until I was lowered into a waiting boat. My legs were shaking so hard I couldn't even stand as he unhooked me. All I could think was, "I did it! I did it and now it's over!" I was high on adrenaline and fear and the new sensation that is free falling. In the end, that's probably why we force ourselves to do things like this - the novelty. I didn't actually want to jump off that bridge but the idea that so many people have and I had no idea what it felt like killed me. So now I'm part of the club and can move on with my life until the next new sensation beckons. Plus I've got a great video of my jump, which I will try to upload eventually but you can see on facebook now if you are friends with me. I look like a deranged spider...