bring it on you humidity

my body is stronger than you think...

Maybe not.

Today the big thermometer in Yeonji park read 30C, that's 86F. Not too hot - hot yes, but tolerable. It's the damn humidity though. I come from Michigan, it's humid there too, but here it just feels different. It's like you can see it, taste it, touch it. It infects my senses and makes me really sweaty by the time I get to work (riding my bike for 15-20 minutes). This coming from a girl doesn't wear deodorant...ever...but who now has managed to score a tiny stick from a friend because it's so expensive here (Korean's in general forgo wearing it). Anyway, enough about the weather, and my sweating/deodorant usage.

As I mentioned before, I'm finishing work 10 days earlier than I thought. Basically, I wasn't paid until I had worked for 1 month and 10 days, and then I was only paid for 1 month. I figured the last 10 days of work would be pro-rated and I'd earn extra money in addition to those original 10 days, but when I recently spoke with my director he told me I could just finish the on the 4th rather than the 13th. The prospect of extra money sounds wonderful, but finishing work 10 days earlier trumps that by a mile...not that I don't like my job but really, to have a couple weeks off to do something? Yes please.

Well, yesterday I was reviewing how much vacation time I have left. My contract grants me 10 days, 5 of which I can choose, 5 of which are chosen by the academy. Thus far I have chosen 2 and my director has chosen 6 (sneaky bugger). That leaves me with 2 days left. Even if hell freezes over tomorrow I would not give up those 2 days off. So yesterday, I walked into his office and after much talking and proving that I was still owed 2 days as per contract, he agreed to let me to finish on August 31st. That's 13 days (including weekends) earlier than I thought. Mee soo happy!!

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do....ahhh, my infinite indecision is such a plague...


living in the land of the small...

I just took my garbage down and shared the elevator with the smallest little man. Judging by our reflections in the mirror covered elevators, I had at least half a head on him. This doesn't really surprise me like it would in Grand Rapids - where the dutch blooded boys (and girls) tower above me, but it did catch my attention.

Anyway, summer is half way over.

I have only 7 weeks left of teaching, 2 of which are 4-day weeks and 1 that's only 2-days. I'm looking forward to visiting friends around Korea at the end of this month, which will also (hopefully) include a visit to the DMZ.

I found out I finish working 10 days before I originally thought. Asahhh (oh yeah!!)

Scott is here. It's great to have a friend at work and in Gimhae. I often forget what it's like to be fresh off the plane and sometimes get frustrated with his questions. I need to practice patience. It's a good virtue so I hear.

(two things actually)

1. Anyone who is, or knows of someone who is interested in teaching in Korea please let me know. My academy is looking for someone the beginning of September. Good pay, good job, good director etc. etc. The city is smaller, clean, close to the mountains...a good group of foreigners, nice co-teachers too. Anyway, if interested throw me an email: kjkoeman@gmail.com

2. My current (and ever-changing although not in the past 3-4 weeks) plan is to return to GR mid-September, fly to Florida for a wedding and then settle down for a little while before enrolling in elementary education at GVSU(?) - spring semester. I'm potentially looking for a place to live starting in Oct/nov if anyone is in need of a roomate or interested in living with me. I'm pretty nice but I shed a lot.


Super Sunday: hiking, coupling, theatrics, temples...

Usually, Sundays consist of relaxing. Lazy Sundays, Super Sundays, anything that required minimal energy allowing my mind and body to recover from the weekend and prepare for the workweek. Perhaps that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but generally speaking, Sundays have always been a pretty chill day. Yesterday however, a group of us decided to go hiking and since dear Bill hasn't been in the hills of Gimhae, we decided to make an afternoon of it.

From left to right: me, Wes, Abbey, Bill and Scott (who just arrived on Friday morning and has unsuccessfully been battling his jet lag). This is at the top of the mountain and we were all pretty sweaty and stinky but felt good breathing in the fresh air that the city lacks.

On our way up to the mountain, we met this little man who was hanging out in the adjacent park with his fellow old man friends. He brought it upon himself to be our guide. He was kind of annoying.

A view from the top.

Abbey and I thought we'd take a moment and enjoy the scenery while we expressed our love for each other.

There was an outdoor gym type of area with this great platform, which is usually used for having a picnic or a rest. Lucky for us, no one was occupying it and people started showing off their skills.

Wes & Abbey demonstrating their empecable ab strength and balance?

At the bottom of the mountain was a temple. Inside the main room the lanterns covered the ceiling. Everything was very colorful and ornate.

An outside panel of the temple.

Great day had by all. Glad Bill got a chance to go hiking finally. Maybe again next week...


Days of Independence...

Since last Saturday I've been busy celebrating both Canada Day the 4th of July. As I wrote before, Saturday was spent in Busan at Starface, Sunday was Dave and Abbey's "Oh Canada, our home and native land..." party and this entire week I've been handing out an absurd amount of word searches, coloring sheets, and mazes to my students.
Me, Liz & Gyung Mi at Starface in Busan

Last night, Emma and Andy, who aren't even American, were so wonderful and hosted quite a large group of people in their apartment for a 4th of July party. It was fully equipped with delicious food (INCLUDING POTATO SALAD!!!), party hats, balloons and red, white and blue.
Emma (our gracious host), Kelsey, me, Abbey, Emma L

After awhile, we ended up heading out to the batting cages, which are probably one of the best ways to spend time in Korea. For 50 cents, you can hit baseballs and aim for a gong, which if you hit, you get your very own brand new baseball!! Unfortunately, I didn't hit it. There's also a basketball shooting game and a punching bag game - and I bet my hangover on the fact that some of those boys have bruised little knuckles today...I actually have a bruise on my arm from swinging that bat to many times...
People hanging out at the batting cages...

I got in quite late and called my friends at home to wish them all a happy 4th. They were just starting to arrive at the pool party and it was great to quick catch up with them...

I've never been away for the 4th and although I wasn't swimming in Aud's pool, or eating Tom's food, or blowing off fireworks and bottlerockets from B-eye's driveway, I had a wonderful time here celebrating in Korea...


I spy July

June has come and gone and July is already here. The summer is flying by and in less than 10 weeks I'm finished teaching. It's Tuesday morning, well almost afternoon, and it appears to be a little more sunny than the regular dreary/overcast/rainy weather we've been having.

Today, I woke up earlier than I have been and I feel refreshed and ready to take on the world. I finally had someone show me how to use bittorrent and thanks to kimberbop I've discovered free tv on the web, however it does take some time to load...I've recently accumulated too many tv shows and movies to watch. If anyone doesn't hear from me in the next 2 weeks it's probably because I'm glued to the tube.

Sunday was Canada Day and because there's such a large number of proud Canadians, I spent 2 nights celebrating. The 4th is tomorrow and I'm not sure anything exciting is going on. I'll probably have a drink and be sad that I'm not at Aud's pool playing the water celebrity game and eating her dad's delicious food...

Work has been decent. My co-teacher left which now makes me the longest standing teacher at my school (second to the receptionist). My friend Scott arrives Friday morning to begin a year of teaching here which is really exciting. Thia entire year I've been certain that teaching isn't a path I want to pursue upon going home, but lately, my thoughts have come full circle and I've been thinking about it more and more...strange how that happens...