Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Settling In

     I think that I can honestly say that I have finally settled into my new life in Suncheon and Gwangyang.  I have found my role in the family and in the school.  I feel more confident navigating my way around the city which gives me a better sense of independence which is definitely a plus.  When I first arrived, my homestay family and co-teachers did almost everything for me and it was frustrating, but certainly necessary.  Of course, they are still absolutely critical to my new life, but I feel like I can at least function properly without their presence for at least a short amount of time.  It is pretty difficult to be as reliant on people as I am here, but I am learning how to do it.
     School continues to be awesome.  The students are all friendly and shouting "Hi Teacher!!" whenever they see me in the hallways.  Most of them put a lot of effort into lessons and try their best to put the words together, but a lot of my students have very low level English abilities so there is only so much they know how to say.  I have to use a lot of pictures and acting.  The new lesson this week is about romance and love letters.  We've been discussing personality, appearance, and introductions the last few lessons so this seemed like a perfect way to tie all of them in together.  I have to use a pretty strict template/fill in the blank letter so 1.) they will be able to write the letter and it will make sense and 2.) so they can't write anything too crazy or inappropriate!  I'm going to send their letters to a couple of the all-girls schools that two of my fellow ETAs are teaching at and we will exchange letters at our fall conference in Gyeonju (spelling?).  They seemed pretty excited which makes me excties so it should be good!
    This past weekend I stayed in town.  I was going to go to the Booseong Green Tea Fields with some of the Naju & Gwangju crew, but the rain forced us to postpone :(  There was a pretty nasty typhoon that hit Jelloanamdo (my province) on Monday.  So much that school was actually closed for students!  The teachers had to go in, but since I only teach and don't have all of the paperwork that the other teachers do, I got the day off too!!  I love typhoon days haha.  But it was actually a little unnerving sometimes since I live on the 15th floor.  The wind was definitely super loud and I thought the windows were going to blow in a few times!
     I think I mentioned briefly in my last post that I joined a cross-fit gym.  It is actually really fun and the people are very friendly, but it is sooo difficult!  The only excerise I really ever did was running long distances so this is brand new to me.  We are doing arms, back, legs, everything!  Yesterday we did these pull-ups where we had to grab the bar above us and then pull our knees up to our elbows 10x then we had to do 15 pushups.  And we did as many rounds of that as we could in 12 minutes.  It was pretty brutal.  My arms are definitely not strong at all.  I'm sticking with it though.  It's nice to have an activity outside of school and the house.  I feel like I have to be "on" all the time at school and home, so it's good to have a little time where I can just do whatever.
    This weekend I am heading back up to Seoul to meet some Fulbright peeps.  We are going white water rafting!!!  I am super stoked.  I haven't been rafting in a long time so I can't wait to have a little adventure again.  The water is going to be freezing and probably going crazy because of all of the water from the typhoon, but that definitely doesn't stop me.  After rafting, we have the option of going...bungee jumping!!!!  I am planning on doing it so I'm also amped about that.  I've always thought about it, but never had the chance, so I have to jump at this one while it's here (no pun intended...).  But seriously, I can't believe I am going!  A bunch of my friends are going on the trip too so it'll be great to see a lot of them again.  I'll let you know how it goes!
   This was a pretty good blog I'd say!  I almost didn't do it and just caught up on the news instead, but here I am feverishly typing away.  I don't know why I find it more difficult to blog here than I did at orientation where I was like 30x busier.  Oh well!  I will do my best to keep at it. 


  1. Make sure that you take a pic at the bottom of the bungee - or maybe at the top or both - maybe a movie - haha. There is now way that I would be able to handle that - easier and more enjoyable ways to have a heart attack than bungee jumping :)
    Glat to hear things are smoothing out. Pretty soon, you are going to be mistake for that old austrian guy named Arnold - which way to muscle beach.
    Have fun raftin n barfin - er - I mean jumpin.

  2. BUNGEE JUMPING!!!! Sounds fantastic. I wish I could join you. My hats off to you Ben. Immersing yourself in a completely foreign culture takes guts. Especially since the Asian culture is as foriegn as you can get from our Western curlture. Keep up the great work.

    Uncle Mark

    P.S. Typhoon day spent on the 15th floor....... nice!