The heat here has to die down eventually, living everyday with the temperature being at least 30 degrees is inhumane. Plus the humidity. Oi.
Let's see, what have I been up to...
Well, for starters, I had two weeks off from summer camps, that was nice. I went to the ocean a few times and got to go swimming. As far as I know, other than maybe when I was a baby and too young to remember, this was the first time I have ever been swimming in the ocean. It was glorious! The beaches in Korea are so incredibly beautiful, I wish taking pictures of them did them any justice. It's always a great time going to the beach, though... we usually barbeque on the beach and go swimming and hang out and relax; I love it.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention the hospitality and acceptance that many people in Korea exhibit towards foreigners. It's not always a walk in the park, and, yes, we get stared at a lot... but there are some truly magical times that make up for all of the creepy staring. We were in a park on night, a bunch of foreigners, having a few drinks and hanging out, when this young guy approached us all and invited us to join the group that had accumulated in the park. There was a group of at least 30 Chinese students who had come to Yeosu for a youth fair, they invited us to sit with them and have some beer and they gave us some of their snacks... it was just an amazing feeling to have a group of people want you to sit with them and join them because they want to know more about you. Maybe it's not always out of them just wanting to be nice, maybe it's for the sake of curiosity, but it always happens. We're always getting invited to join groups of Koreans and have a drink with them, or hang out and eat with them. That really never happens in Canada. There is just such an air of hospitality here for the most part. So many people come here for the anonymity, but in the end, there's such a sense of community that draws everyone together. I really love it. It's a great feeling to feel welcome, for the most part, in a country where you can barely speak the language.
I also love seeing my students on the street with their parents, the kids get so excited, and I think that the parents like getting to meet me. They always seem happy to see me. And I love my students. Teaching in Korea is so different from teaching in Canada. The students here respect and love their teachers for the most part, especially in Elementary. The kids give you hugs, I have groups of students that hold hands with me when we walk to class, there's a little boy who waits for me outside of school everyday so he can say hello to me and ask me how I am today... I just love feeling so respected and loved by my students. It's also sad that stuff like that would never fly in Canada, that students aren't allowed to feel a close connection to their teachers, aren't allowed to hug them if they want to. The Canadian education system is so cold in that regard, and it's an unfortunate situation, because I feel like my students trust me and respect me more, that they want to be around me and want to learn from me... and I see the same situation with the Korean teachers, as well, that the students react the same to them.
My week of summer camp went pretty well. Meghan (one of the other teachers who volunteered to do the camp) and I decided to take both grade 5 classes and put them together so that we could teach together. It ended up actually being a lot of fun. We put on a play with the kids (Peter Pan), we played games, we did trivia, made cool necklaces... a whole bunch of fun things, I think they really enjoyed it. The week went by really fast. The kids were so smart, too. It was a nice change after my first summer camp. Not that I didn't love those kids, but it's hard to teach kids that have no idea what you're saying.
Now I'm on to my last week and a half of summer vacation. I'll be going to Busan with Andrew and Kelly this weekend... the second attempt. And we're planning a trip to China for Chuseok, which will be awesome. Things are going really well. It's still a little hard to deal with the whole break up thing, but I can at least recognize the fact that losing him means that I will be able to find someone else who will want to make me happy for the rest of my life, instead of staying with someone who only cares about making himself happy, and doesn't care if he destroys me in the process.
I'll post pictures from my Busan trip after I get back... a trip to the aquarium and to a weird coin operated amusement park are planned!