Hagwon? I hardly know won!

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Better Busy Than Bored March 20, 2011

I haven’t written in a good long while because I have been one busy little beaver.

In February I spent a week in Bangkok and fell in love with Thailand. The food, the architecture, the hospitality, the weather. I loved it all. For every dog that isn’t in Seoul there are five running feral on the streets on Bangkok. There must have been a table tennis tournament in town, because people kept asking if we wanted to see a ping pong show. My life flashed before my eyes every time I sat in a tuk tuk.

I took a zip line tour through the rain forest which is the single most fun thing I have ever done in my life. Flight of the Gibbon picks you up in Bangkok, drives you out to the forest, you get to see some of the wildlife in a small and very up close and personal zoo, and then you zip line from tree top to tree top.

Just... Hanging Out!

Zip lining through the Thai rain forest

On a bike tour through the Thai country side with Absolute Explorer, I got to see shrimp, fish, and rice farms, even more wildlife, experience authentic Thai culture and have lunch at the mayor’s house.

Biking through the Thai country side

Taking a bike ride between rice patties

I met my parent’s foreign exchange student. Irene and her father showed us around for a whole day. We got to see Bangkok with Bangkokians, the Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, an elephant show, the restaurant inspired by the world-famous Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker. It was a tornado of hospitality.

The week in Thailand is the happiest I’ve ever seen Doug in our 10 years together. I fell so deeply in love with the Land of Smiles that we are now planning to move there this fall.

Kin, our friend who has been at the Hopyeong branch as long as we have, has finished his contract. After spending a few weeks traveling, he will go back to Colorado on Tuesday. It’s a pretty big bummer.

The crew one last time

Saying goodbye to Kin

The teacher who was hired to replace Kin bailed on us leaving us one teacher short at the very last-minute. This means that we’ve all had to pick up the slack. At the same time, our school opened a new kindergarten. So in addition to teaching 40 hours a week (to those of you who don’t teach, that’s a lot of classroom hours) I’m also teaching 3 and 4 year olds who don’t speak a word of English how to stand in a line, how to sit still, and how to sneeze into a tissue.

The good news is this, I prefer being over worked to under-worked. I like just a little stress in my life. It keeps me on my toes, makes me feel accomplished. I’m making good money. I’ve worked 60 hour weeks back home and still only brought home about $600 for that week. Not the case here. I’m working hard and getting paid what I’m worth. That’s a really good feeling. I’m so busy, I don’t have any time to spend any of that money. I only have one more week of this run ragged schedule before a new teacher arrives and takes a few classes off of my hands.


Also, when I do extend myself too far, get sick and miss a class, my students concern is adorable. I received the following note, “to teacher Hellow teacher!! I’m a Jenny. How are you? Are your sick? I’m very worry for you. I’m very sad. Teacher thank you! Beacause you teach me. good bey!” Worth it!

I’ve learned by working with the kindergarten students that while I enjoy and plan to get a degree in early childhood education, I don’t want to teach kindergarten as a career. I don’t want to be the one who has to break them in. I’m also learning that I’m ready to go back to school. I’m on the hunt for programs that will allow me to take some classes on-line, so when my schedule opens up, I can start chipping away at my goal of becoming a really honest to goodness teacher.

If that wasn’t enough to keep a girl’s head spinning, I’ve also joined the Republic of Korea Derby. We practice all the way south in Dague, which means I’m getting a chance to see more of this country that I’m living in. The girls are great and diverse from all over the United States and the U.K. with different reasons for coming to Korea and share a common love of derby. Most of the girls have never skated before but always wanted to join a league back home. My skates are ordered and I am anxiously waiting for them to arrive. I’ll be once again skating as Pippi Longshocking due to the Korean’s insistence that I look an awful lot like “Bibbi.”

My darling husband, who is working really hard to get the most he can out of his own Korea experience, has joined a band in Seoul. He practices every Sunday and is a much happier camper now that he’s a rock star writer once again.

I’m packing as much life as I can into the time that I have. I only get one chance at this and I want to make it a good one.


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