0

Where are you?

13707676_10157188089355525_5149565842094981352_n-1

It’s been a long time. Longer than I had planned, honestly. But working 90 hour weeks for seven weeks really takes a lot out of you. Summer camp was in a word: amazing. Such an invaluable experience. I grew to love living on Fairy Lake, spending my time with kids from all over the world and spending my days off with people in Huntsville (and surrounding cities). A lot of stuff happened while at camp, some things I never thought I’d be around too, but I can’t even begin to describe all of them.

I didn’t plan on taking such a long hiatus after my last post. I thought with my job I’d be able to have downtime to blog, or read, or whatever. But the majority of my downtime was spent planning, or spending as much time with my coworkers as possible. I grew to love Huntsville, and all the rustic charm of camp. We’d spend our nights by the lake, swimming (or showering haha), or by the fire talking and having so many s’mores. Sometimes we’d camp out in the staff lounge, like on the night where the rain was so strong that it made a baby raccoon get stuck in a tree. We’d steal snacks from the dining hall, set up the projector in the sleeping bag room and watch movies. It was such a fun experience but it was also very draining.

There was not a day where I went to bed unable to sleep. I’d be doing so much during the day that I’d just flop down into bed and not stir until 7:30am when the bell woke everyone up. It was so easy to fall into the camp schedule: first bell rings at 7:30am (8:30am on Sunday sleep-in), second at 7:50am – that’s when you were to be out at the flag pole for the daily anthem. Breakfast was followed by the first challenge of the day, then clean up time, and right into first classes at 9:15. Each day I’d be teaching ESL for the first two periods, with my wonderful co-teachers, then I’d move into other activities like woodworking (who trusted me with a saw? I cut a hole into my pants!), swimming (more like beach games), and arts and crafts. We’d be scheduled to have a free period but the majority  of the time we’d have to cover other peoples lessons if they had days off (like the day I covered archery(????) and fishing – a story in itself.

After a full day of activities (and lunch at 1pm, followed by nap time), we’d have dinner and then go right into EP – Evening Program. EP was designed to tire the kids out and expel any remaining energy the kids had left. This was ran by different counselors every day and it would range from capture the flag, to soccer baseball, or even a fun variation of hide and seek called sardines. It was always fun to take part of EP but there were some days that I was too buy with ESL stuff that I couldn’t do it. After EP, we’d end the day by lowering the flag, singing day is done, and having a snack. After that (about 8:30pm) my duties were done for the day. The counselors would have to take their kids to go shower and get them to bed, but as a teacher I didn’t have those responsibilities. Working 12 hour days was very rewarding but also explains why I was so tired all the time.

The days off were the highlights of the week. We’d have 24 hours to do whatever we want. My day off was always Wednesday because all the campers would be on excursions (going to Wonderland, or Niagara Falls, or Huntsville). My fellow teachers (and the lifeguards!) would all head into town together, sometimes getting a hotel room to spend the night away from camp. Many drinks and mozzarella sticks were consumed on those days off, savoring the time away from camp. Some days we’d just go back to camp to enjoy the quietness of it all, a camper-free camp is different but having free run of the lake was awesome.

Camp is over now, and it’s been over for more than two months. And what have I been doing in the meantime? Well I’ll get to that. Those weeks are posts I’ll have coming soon, and this time I mean it. I’ve been lying dormant for too long and I’m finally ready to dust off my old blogging skills. I’ll have more posts to come about Huntsville, camp, some travel I’ve done in the last few weeks, and some restaurants in my hometown! I hope you’re ready for them 🙂

See you soon!

Until next time,
B.

13731697_10157188190185525_2348200084663714065_n

Advertisements
0

Time flies when you’re eating everything

20151104_102526.jpgI can’t believe it has already been a month since I left Korea. It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the airport after cramming everything in to a cardboard box and mailing the things I couldn’t get into my overweight suitcases home. It was such an overwhelming and emotional day, and I just remember chit chatting and talking with the American border guards, happy to be able to talk to everyone. It was such an exciting time. It’s been so weird coming home and expecting things to be different but things have been shockingly similar. It’s so weird being home but at the same time it’s comforting. Like putting on an old sweater that still fits perfectly but you know is past it’s prime.20151104_193207.jpg

I hopped back into the job I left last year, so in some ways it feels like the
last year of my life did not even happen. But of course it did, and I’m
reminded of Korea almost daily still. There are lots of things I don’t miss, and lots of things I do, and of course I’ve had moments of reverse culture shock, so to speak… One of the main things that sticks out is how small everything is. I was so used to the shelter provided by all the tall buildings in Korea. Everything is so small and short and spaced out here. The tall buildings at home are fewer and far between.20151105_165544.jpg I am not used to seeing the sky so clearly every day! I miss looking out at the mountains on my way to work every day, and my lovely little walk through the park. Small things like that. I miss that so much!

I love my drive to work every day, it goes by so quickly and I missed being in a car (without paying for it, haha). It’s been super convenient being at home as my boyfriend, Andrew, has got his own car since I’ve been gone! I love the little road trips we’ve been going on. It’s changed a lot of things, making me feel almost grown up completely… even if I don’t really think I should be a grown up. I still feel weird about being home sometimes because I had prepared myself for things to be different and in some respects they were, but in many they weren’t.

It was really odd for me to come home first because a: I was riding in the car with Andrew for the first time with him driving (on a highway! in his car!) and b: the place I had called home before leaving for Korea did not exist anymore. My mom moved while I was gone and I had made arrangements to live with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for a long time and it is the next logical step. Our first month of co-habitation seems to be going well. It was just weird for me to go home to a place that didn’t really feel like home yet. It took me at least two or three months for my apartment in Korea to really feel like home… this place is a little easier to adjust to but I feel like I’m missing things!  It’s gonna take a bit of time to get completely comfortable but I’m getting there.

I really miss the transit in Busan. I miss being able to hop on the subway and zone out. I did not miss the city bus here, which has increased its fare to $2.75 a ride, and always has an odd smell. The subway was quick, easy, and I usually never had to worry about small talk on my commutes. I also really miss my students a lot. I’ve been talking to a few of them on Kakao Talk but it’s not the same! I’m sad I won’t see any of them, probably ever again :(. I also miss a lot of the foods. Mostly pumpkin pajeon if I’m being honest, and also being able to get a delicious lunch for under $5.

Food here is amazing, I’ve almost made it through my entire list of wants from when I was in Korea, but it’s so expensive! I had a meal with my friends one night and I spent four times the cost of a meal in Korea. I didn’t even get any drinks with that…. I miss the low costs of Korea (food wise) but I also love being able to fold up my freshly dried clothes, sit in a huge lovely bathtub, and bake anything I want!teacher

What’s next for me though? I still don’t know. I feel like I keep repeating

that but I also have an idea of what I want. Andrew and I are at an
interesting point in our lives. We’re in between a lot of things, and I think that this could be a great opportunity for growth. I think I might be moving soon, and if I want to continue to teach or work in the ESL field, I know I have to do that. I also want to travel more! But that will have to wait until I get some more money saved, and get into a better paying job.

img_20151106_174228.jpgFor now, I’m content to hang out with some good people, eat delicious food, and spend the holidays at home. I’m so happy to be home for Christmas, and I’m loving all the holiday things everywhere. I do miss the lovely tree in Nampo though, so if you’re in Busan please go and see the lights for me! 🙂  My next post will be a well overdue travel post! Look forward to it!!

Until next time,
B.20141130_174447.jpg

 

0

Playing tour guide.

wpid-img_20150523_022957.jpgA few weekends ago I was lucky to have two good things happen: one, it was a long weekend and I had Monday off
(for Buddha’s birthday, happy birthday buddy!) and two, I had my first visitor from home. The weekend started on Thursday for me, as a few friends and I spent the night until the wee hours of the morning talking and drinking. I feel like I’m more inclined to sit and chat and drink when the weather is so nice out. The summer evenings are in full effect in Korea, and I was feeling mighty social. The night was good, I didn’t feel too bad at work on Friday despite going to bed at 5am, and I was going to have a friend come visit. I was excited for work to be over on Friday. Fridays in Hwamyeong are usually spent at the CU. This Friday was no different. It was a fun night, just me and my friend sitting for a few hours chatting. A lot of my friends had left for the weekend because they wanted to take advantage of the extra days off and go to places like Namhae and Bijindo, I was happy to stay in Busan because I had my visitor coming. Though it was less of a crowd than usual, we still had a good night.

wpid-img_20150523_202836.jpgSaturday I woke up feeling not too hot, but that was of my own doing. I was excited because my friend Alex was coming from home. Alex and I went to the same highschool, we didn’t talk much then but after school we both got summer jobs in the mall and bonded over Arbys and BBM. We’ve kept our friendship up since then, especially when she went to Korea to teach for a year in Incheon. I visited her when I was doing summer school in Seoul (in 2013), and now she was on a trip back to go to Korea and Japan. I was more than excited to show her around Busan because she hadn’t made her way down here in all her time in Korea. I had spent a bit of time making a little itinerary for us, and thankfully we got to do most of the things she wanted! On Saturday we dropped everything off in Hwamyeong, a little bit of a journey from Busan station, and then we headed into Seomyeon for dinner. One of myfavourite foods in Korea now is jimdak. It’s a spicychicken dish with noodles and sweet potatoes. It can be a little much but I really enjoy it. We wandered around Seomyeon a bit after dinner, and then decided to head up to a temple.wpid-img_20150523_203011.jpg

Samgwangsa temple has the biggest and best lantern display in Busan (maybe all of Korea!) for Buddha’s birthday. I was debating wpid-img_20150523_203319.jpgbetween going to the water temple or this one, and I’m glad we went to this one. The sun had just began to set, and the traffic was thick going to the temple. I guess everyone wanted to see the beautifully lit temple. It was a bit of a hike up to the temple but it was so worth it. The lanterns were plentiful and it was one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. The structure was beautiful. Alex and I hiked all the way up to the second buildings, and walked along the lit paths. It was really a sight to behold. If you’re in Korea, specifically Busan, next year around Buddha’s wpid-img_20150523_204555.jpgbirthday PLEASE go to this temple. It is really one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my time here.

After we explored the temple, we headed back in Seomyeon to meet up with Oliver. Thankfully I had some friends stay in town so Alex could meet some of them! We made our way to B-Turn, a self-serve bar in wpid-img_20150524_000311.jpgSeomyeon. (Apparently now one of our new places to hang out.). We had some horrible nachos, I had delicious cider (Nordic berries and Strawberry lime) and they had some beers. Lynette and Moa joined us as well! We spent a few hours there playing drinking games. After we finished up there, we met up with Alice and we did an hour of noraebang. Oliver, Alice, Alex, and I were feeling particularly singy so we ventured around Seomyeon looking for more places to carry on our wpid-img_20150524_041427.jpgnoraebanging. We stayed out quite late, sang a lot of songs, and had delicious breakfast sandwiches from Angel-in-us (ham and cheese ciabatta for life!).

The next day, Alex and I had a super late start, but thankfully we did everything we wanted! We made it to Gamcheon culture village, she found and bought honey butter chips, explored Nampo-dong, and even made it to Gwangalli beach! We had a great day just exploring Busan, eating snacks and finishing the night on the beach was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, weather wise. We did have a disappointing bingsu from Cafe Bene, but I wanted to try it and I was glad we did. It wpid-img_20150524_190359.jpgjust tasted like pure sugar!

Alex left early Monday morning, the KTX train was a bit busy but she made it back to Incheon in the afternoon. I spent a good part of Sunday at home reading a book: We were liars (IT WAS SO GOOD!) and I went to the park to watch the sunset. I’m really enjoying my time here, and I love being in this little area of Busan. It isn’t busy like the rest of the city, and it has everything I need. It kind of sucked going back to work after the long weekend, but time keeps on flying. I’m already over halfway done my contract, and I can’t believe it.wpid-img_20150525_191523.jpg

June is looking like it’s going to be another fun, exciting month. The weather is heating up and it’s perfect beach weather now! I have a few birthdays that I’m getting to celebrate this month. Hopefully it’s going to be another wonderful month. As well, I should be having another guest come soon. I’m very excited for that, but as always, I’ll keep you updated.

Until next time!
-B
wpid-img_20150524_173458.jpg