Saturday, 5 August 2017

Summer Update ☀

Well, we’re at the peak of summer here in South Korea, which means it’s time for another seasonal update.

I’m writing this sitting at home next to the fan on a sweltering 36-degree Sunday afternoon. Temperatures over the past few weeks have been sitting in the mid-thirties. However, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be, compared to last year (being my first year here and a bit of a shock to the system).

Another thing that’s made it easier is my change in exercise routine from running to swimming. There’s no better way to counteract the heat than by taking a dip. I enjoyed going down the road to the swimming pool for a few weeks, but that ended pretty quickly as the school holidays started and swimming lanes turned into wading lanes as people flocked to the pool. So, after school, I’ve been going up the road to the pool in Jangsu, where there are usually just a few people.

Last week, a few of us went to the Jirisan N.P., a short drive of about eight kilometres from Namwon, where we had a barbeque and a dip in the mountain stream there. And then yesterday, I joined my students in Beonam for the Beonam Water Festival. The town turned out to celebrate summer, and the school orchestra played very well despite the heat. I was supporting the kids, passing out bottles of water, chatting to the kids’ parents, and trying to keep control of the school puppy, who was getting a little carried away with the excitement. The festival took place beside the Yocheon river, and people were swimming and playing in the water and observing the proceedings from in the water. I said bye to the students at about 10pm and drove back home. I was a little bit sad to leave, as I’d been in Beonam all week, running an English camp all about New Zealand.

Another great summer adventure took place in the small town of Sacheon, in Gangwon province, about 6 hours drive from Namwon, and close to the border. It was a church retreat, with most of the congregation of Namwon Church, where I worship every Sunday. We stayed in a small church by the beach, some of us (including me) opting for the slightly less glamorous option of camping on a potato field (which, despite the mozzies, was pretty comfy). The food and conversations we shared, as well as time spent on the beach and in the sea (finally! after so long!) all made for some pretty special memories.

Other than that, I’ve been keeping my head down most of the time. It’s been a pretty full-on year so far. I have no fantastic yarns to spin about travelling to exotic lands over my summer break, as I’ve been mostly working. But, as you can see from my report above, it’s actually been pretty good.


Sanseo in springtime.

I had a Monday off in late May, so I decided to go for a run up Banyabong (Mt. Banya). It took most of the day, but the views were awesome, as were the friends I made on the way.

Late spring in Namwon, cycling home from a barbeque.  Just before the rainy season.

A guessing game where students had to colour in kiwis and then ask their classmates if it belongs to them or not. Note the 'kiwifuit kiwi!' This kid will go far in life!

Admiring the breathtaking beauty of Naejangsan National Park. Photo credit to Jack, a Korean friend from Namwon. We spent most of the day (about 7 hours) walking and managed to get to the top of every peak in the (albeit small) park!

The result from a hokey pokey ice-cream making lesson with Middle 2 students. Then, the following week, I tried it with my elementary students at Beonam and Sanseo. Two pretty crazy days, but a fun way to finish off the semester!

Another fun walk up Mt. Seongsu a few Saturdays ago. This was after we came down from the top, got lost, and found a road, and before we hitchhiked back to the carpark. :-]

Friends Soyi and Pierce had a market day at their guesthouse, and asked me to play. I played 12 or so minutes worth of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Despite the heat, it was a mistake to wear shorts. I was eaten alive by mozzies while playing.

A very appreciative audience. 
On the very last day of the semester, most of the teachers at Sanseo Middle and High School went to Busan together. This is some of the crowd. We had a great weekend.

Tent city on the church retreat.

Brent, my leaky tent.

View of the beach. It was cloudy for most of the 4-day retreat, and it rained a little bit, but that turned out to be a good thing, as it was never too hot (unlike Namwon right now!)

"Wanderer above the sea of fog." See the resemblance?

A shoulder-massage chain during camp activities. Unfortunately, my shoulder-massager was a 3 year-old kid, which wasn't the most relaxing experience!

Most of the congregation of Namwon Church.
Students making pikelets at Beonam Elementary.

We made poi and learnt a poi dance inspired by "Rere Atu Taku Poi"

The students performing at Beonam Water Festival. Notice how the stage is right next to the water. This was an ideal location, although I'm glad no speakers or electrical equipment (or old ladies, for that matter) fell into the drink.

Swimming in the river.

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