Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Vacation within a Vacation

Hello world!  This marks the first week of my vacation within my vacation, which means I have a 2 week break from my winter internship!  It's pretty exciting but I'm a little sad at the same time since I really enjoy having the classes and getting to know the students and Korean culture as a whole.  But it is nice to wake up and have the freedom to just do whatever I want with no obligations. 

So what have I been doing?  Well on Tuesday I ventured out to the CrossFit facility that I recently discovered to see what it was about.  Apparently it is really new and there aren't a ton of members yet.  I might even be the first non-Korean member!  I don't really know for sure since I haven't gone during all the different hours but it could be a possibility.  Anyways I walked in and a couple of guys greeted me and started telling me about the gym.  It's a half Jiu-Jitsu half CrossFit gym that's owned and ran by an MMA fighter who is probably the most ripped Korean I have ever seen.  He looks really young too so I was pretty surprised to learn that he was the owner of the gym, but then again most Koreans look pretty young to me. 

So I signed up and went to the 7:00 class that night.  Unfortunately, there isn't a little uniform they provide like the gym in Suncheon so I have to bring my own clothes and then do my own laundry and all that, but it's not a biggie.  The gym itself is actually pretty empty too.  Just some medicine balls, kettlebells, and some stretching equipment.  It's pretty much just a big open space which is a lot different than the gym in Suncheon.  There you have some weights and benches and a rowing machine and a few other things so I was a little surprised but whatever.

Then we get to the warm up.  There's only 3 of us in the particular class I am in and we go in full force right away.  He has us run about 1/2 mile, do a bunch of bear crawls, some crab walks, jumping things and a few other things I haven't done at Suncheon.  It was a much longer warm up than I have ever done.  Then we did the workout.  We had to do 50 up downs/burpees, 100 push-ups, and 150 squats.  Ugh.  In Sucheon, the owner divides the workout into 4 or 5 levels and you pick the one that works best for you.  Not here!  It's the hardest level for everyone!  Yesterday's workout was even worse, especially the "warm-up."  And it focused largely on arms which made for a difficult workout for me since my arms aren't really all that strong.  He had us do burpees, kettlebell swings (with 20kg kbs...I usually only use 12kg!), and pull-ups.  And to "strech" at the end, he made us hang from the pullup bars for 30, 20, and 10 seconds.  I couldn't even go today because my triceps felt completely shot.  It was a struggle to even lift my arms above my head haha.  I was in my dorm room and I was going to try to do a thing where you drop down to the ground and do a push-up but I knew that just was not going to end well so I relented and I gave myself a rest today.  It's definitely going to be an intense month, but I think it'll be good.

Tomorrow I move into the goshiwon!  I think I'm excited for it.  I'm definitely going to miss having a bathroom in my room, but it'll be nice to have my own space.  It'll be a hall bathroom that I share with the other students in my hall.  But yeah I'm thinking I will like it.  I know a few of my friends are already in their goshiwons in Seoul and they seem to like it.  And I'll get to sleep with the fan on!  My roomate doesn't like to and always turns it off if I have it on so that'll be nice.

Today I got a haircut!  I was so overdue for one.  It was getting all curly and nasty at the ends and I've been meaning to for a while, but just never got around to it.  So I downloaded a pic of myself on my phone that had my hair at a length that I desired and just showed it to the barber and he did his work.  I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  But really, most anything was an improvement over what I had haha.  And it's only like 5 dollars for a cut so I can't complain!

I'm also trying to plan for my next 3 week class.  I'm thinking of different ideas and things to do with them outside of the class.  I have a little syllabus made, but I don't really have anything planned out day by day or any of that yet so I think I'll do that next week.  Also I have to go on my recruiting spree to get guest speakers for my class!  I'm also going to experiment and see if I can get a Skype thing going so I can recruit my stateside pals to join us, but I'll have to see about that. 

I suppose that is about it.  I only have like 5 and a half months left here in Korea.  Hard to believe last year at this time I learned that I was a finalist in the Fulbright competition.  I'm still surprised that I got it haha. Okay well I'll try to keep the posting more regular and I'll catch you all later. 

Have a good one.


  1. Hello Ben,

    I have to tell you, evertime I read your blog I am more and more impressed with the way you are adapting to the local culture. You are accomplishing things that it took me 3o years to do. If we can work it out, I would love to be a guest speaker at one of your classes. We will have to wait and see. Keep up the good work.

    Uncle Mark

  2. I'm thinking that Uncle Mark would be a great speaker. I wish I could help out there too. I am envious.

    You are doing a great job - keep up the fine work. I know a barber or 2 in the states that work for less than 5, but 5 is a pretty good price considering you are out of town at the moment.

    Crossfit sounds like it would be a fit for me - I'm impressed that you can even survive much less go back for more :)

    Enjoy your little vacation. Looking forward to your homecoming very much!

  3. Hi! Well I know we have Skype installed on the computer/tv screen in the classroom but I'm not sure if it has a webcam and/or sound so I will have to keep you posted. I might be able to do it on my laptop if we can figure the wifi out too. I'll play around a bit and see what I can do! Looking forward to talking to you both soon!