2 months

I’ve now been living here two months. It feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. I’m starting to live a lot more like a local. I’ve learnt the tricks of the metro – like where to transfer to different lines, when to wait for an express, how to ride standing up without holding on to anything or falling over and even what many of the announcements mean before they’re translated into English. My workmates now feel that I’m eating properly because my standard lunch includes rice and will often have seaweed and be eaten with chopsticks too. I have a Korean debit card, and smart phone so I feel like a legitimate resident. A shopping spree on Sunday has meant that I’m now dressing like a Korean much to the delight of my coworkers. I still don’t like Kimchi, and somehow have escaped the noraebang, so I’m not fully Korean just yet.

Yesterday was ANZAC Day. Google did not produce evidence of any events to be held to mark the day so I had to mark it in my own day. I started the day with marmite on toast and a feijoa tea. Taking some time to read about New Zealand’s involvement in the Korean War. I wore a red poppy which I had thoughtfully saved from last year and took some Whittakers kiwifruit chocolate to share with my workmates. This act of generosity has depleted my rations of NZ chocolate. Offers to replenish it will be gratefully accepted, especially with some of the new Whittakers flavours I’ve been reading about.

We’re now two thirds of the way through the quarter. The next month of classes will include a lot of review sessions to prepare students for their Junior Test which helps determine whether they move up a level for the next quarter. I’m gonna have to get creative to make these classes fun. I’m still don’t have any strong feelings, be they positive or negative, about teaching. My class sizes now range from 1 to 8 students. Each has it’s own dynamic. Some classes run really smoothly and others border on complete anarchy.

Tonight is Thursday, which means I’m here till 10pm. Not cool. But I do enjoy having a free morning each week. Last week I went to the blossom festival. Today I slept in, did my laundry and went for a run to the next neighbourhood. My dinner break is now finished, so better get back to it.

 

Here are some of the photos I took at the Yeouido Blossom Festival last week.

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52

Yesterday was my 52nd day in Korea.

A lot has happened in 52 days, but it seems 52 weekends shall be the more telling figure of this trip.

Hours during the week seem to be split between work and the office, with not much happening in between. I’ve decided to try and get up at a normal time to make the most of the mornings before my 11am start, rather than saving up my waking hours for evenings which are spent in front of the computer in my apartment. These are my relaxing times so that I have energy for work and for the weekends.

I’m now halfway through a Neuvo Tango class, which I think has been the best thing I’ve chosen to do here. The class itself is really good, but the connections I’ve made there have already made this city so much more liveable. I now have people to wander round with on Saturday afternoons with plans now getting underway for trips outside of the city.

Korea is a much more exciting place when you have friends to share it with.

Korea is also much more inviting when the sun is shining. I had kinda been feeling like I was living in the backwaters of Seoul, especially after visiting the upmarket Gangnam and trendy Hongdae. But now that the sun is shining, my neighbourhood is starting to gain colour. Not from evergreen neon signs and billboards but with blossoms, magnolias and leaves. I went for a walk Sunday night along the Hangang right by house. The sun was setting, there were heaps of locals out exercising and enjoying what was a beautiful evening. It’s starting to look and feel like a place I would enjoy living in. Tomorrow I plan to visit Yeouido, an island in the Hangang where they are having a blossom festival. Rest assured my camera will be joining me.