Kia ora koutou. Just a short update.
Life in Korea is going well.
The day-to-day teething challenges of living and working here have been smoothed out, and I've settled into the swing of things.
I've now successfully transitioned into being a morning person – up at 6:30 every week day, and even on weekends, I'm up early – there's just so much to do!
I'm trying to take the task of learning Korean pretty seriously, and I try to practice what I learn in the textbook as often as I can.
I received my first paycheck a couple of weeks ago (wahoo!), and one of the first things I did was to order a bike, so I'm looking forward to doing some exploring.
I've made some new friends, and had some pretty cool moments – to mention a few:
- sharing makgeoli (rice wine) and an exciting array of side dishes with church friends in Jeonju
- celebrating Easter with a South African family and introducing them to Pavlova
- baking hot-cross buns and kiwifruit muffins for the staff at school
- hanging out with new friends in Namwon, and visiting cool places with them
The teaching is going well, and in general, the students are always excited to be in English class. I was asked to run an after-school club for motivated students/to motivate students to learn English, and thus 'Kiwi Club' was born. Each week, we learn something about Aotearoa/NZ. So far, I've introduced NZ from Pākehā and Māori perspectives, we've watched 'The World's Fastest Indian,' made papier-mâché kiwis, and learnt about 'No. 8 wire'/famous Kiwis. We're doing more crafts and watching 'Whale Rider' this week. Any suggestions are welcome.
At this point, I reckon you've done enough reading, so I'll continue the story with pictures. Rural Korea is idyllic at the moment, with blossoming trees everywhere, and warm, sunny weather. The only thing to be wary of is the dust pollution which blows over from China.
Namwon is situated on the banks of the Yocheon river. This cycle path, along the river, goes on for ages, linking villages and towns along the way.
One of the several bridges that cross the Yocheon.
Looking towards the mountains and Jirisan national park.
Childrens' performance at Gobaek church, Jeonju.
The traditional array of sides that come with makgeoli (rice wine), including crab claws and silkworm larvae (yum!)
A Jeonju market at dusk.
Chunhyang folk village. Amongst other things, Namwon is famous for the story of Chunhyang, a 'true love prevails' story about the son of a governor who, against all odds, marries Chunhyang, the girl of his dreams. Chunhyang festival, held in May, is a big deal here apparently.
Hot Cross buns!
Blossoming trees are everywhere in Korea at the moment. I've been out and about as much as possible to see them while they last!
On the way to Gokseong after breakfast on Saturday, we stopped to see the petroglyphs carved into the rocks.
Wandering around Gokseong rose garden. It's still too early for the roses, but I'll be back!
Gokseong rose garden.
Gwanghallu garden, in Namwon. One of the main settings for the 'Chunhyang' story.
I cut through a meadow by the train tracks on the way home.