- Today I signed my official resignation form to not renew my contract in 2014.
- I have booked my ticket to depart Seoul on the 1st of March, then continuing on to Siem Reap on the 3rd.
- I have also booked my ticket to depart Shanghai on the 4th May, making my way towards Atlanta, GA.
- The heat has definitely left Gunsan and Autumn/Fall has welcomed a very sudden cold chill. I don’t like it.
- The puffy winter coats, gloves and hats have now replaced the skirts and singlets. It makes me sad.
Other than that. Life is good.
Friday 1 November was the day my main school had their art festival. This year the school held it very differently compared to the last few years due to the change of principals this semester. Last year (and the few years before) the school had always hired out the cultural center in Gunsan and held two shows there. This year, the new principal decided to keep it within the school grounds and held it in the auditorium, with just one show time.
As much as I liked the way it was run last year, it was still a pretty good event. At least this year all students got the chance to perform on stage whether it be with the choir, a musical group or a dance act. It definitely felt more like a school festival rather than a showcase. Also, there were definitely a lot less dancing to K-POP and a lot more showcasing of musical talent.
I was lucky enough to be able to perform again with some of the teachers. Ms Talent (who last year was a 6th grade homeroom teacher but this year is one of my English co-teachers) headed this part of the programme. This year some of the male teachers were involved and we were able to perform two very different sets. The songs that were picked are very popular at the moment in the KPOP scene- Pretty Pretty (예뻐 예뻐) by Ladies Code and Growl (으르렁) by EXO.
Below are a few photos from the night. For those that are my Facebook friends, you can see a video of our set on my page ^^
(The Ladies Code team minus one teacher)
(The Ladies Code team)
(The EXO team)
(The EXO team)
(The EXO team)
I think it’s pretty official that my school now knows I won’t be returning for 2014. No paperwork has been signed yet but my co-teacher has been asking how my travel and other plans are going for when my contract ends.
One thing that I will absolutely miss when I leave here are the random conversations I have with some of the younger students here at my main school, and with strangers as well. Just after lunch today I had a young 2nd or 3rd grader that I’d never seen before come up and say hello to me, then started saying pretty much all the English words he knows. I hardly get a word in before he says bye and runs off.
It’s all those nonsensical and cute conversations I’ll really miss.
I’ve just realised this morning that in under 3 months I’ll be jet-setting off to the Philippines for 2 weeks. Then in about 5 months I’ll be saying goodbye to Korea and hopefully heading towards Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, China and then the USA.
Super excited but extremely scared and nervous at the same time. It’s definitely nerve-wracking to think that I don’t have a secure job lined up for next year let alone know where exactly I’ll end up!
All this unpredictability is teaching me to keep my nerves at bay and to just live each day as it comes, rather than always hold onto things or worry too much about the outcome.
But, I think it is definitely time for me to move on. Korea has been amazing and I’ll look back on this adventure as one of the best decisions I’ve made. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time here I know that this country is not where I want to spend my foreseeable future, as I want to live somewhere that pushes me to my limits and allows me exercise my mind and body a bit more. However, I can thank Korea for the new friendships I’ve made, for allowing me to find what I want to do with my life, for allowing me to realise the type of person I want to be, for allowing me to let go of past inhibitions and surround myself with things that only encourage me rather than bring me down.
Knowing that this is my last year here, I have begun to appreciate the little things a bit more. I don’t think I’ll be back in Korea for a very long time, or at all if anything, so it’s nice to just appreciate my surroundings. But it’s definitely hard to not get too excited for what’s about to come.
Recently booked my tickets to the Philippines to go during winter vacation. Not only will I see my homeland again (its been too long since the last time), but my family from New Zealand will also be there. So, it’s perfect timing.
Thanks to teaching in Korea I have been able to travel to some amazing places (Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and soon back to the Philippines). My bank account may not be as healthy as I want it to be but man, I have some incredible memories that I will never, ever forget.
For Chuseok this year myself plus two others headed over to one of the most famous islands in South Korea, Jeju-do. This is their “tropical” island and is pretty popular for beach getaways.
Adam, who had been there last year, acted as our guide for the island and thanks to him we were able to see most of the more important sites on this little island.
Here is a quick rundown of what we got up to.
- 18th September: Drove to Iksan then took a train to Gwangju. Flew from Gwangju to Jeju’s International Airport.
- 19th September: Woke up at 630am, got ready and taxi’d to the base of Hallasan. This is where we began our 8km trek uphill to the peak (1950m). This is the highest mountain in South Korea. The downhill hike was 10km. Overall, the total amount of time it took us to get up and down to the south side was about 8 - 9 hours.
For this night we stayed in the southern city of Seogwipo.
- 20th September: This day we hired scooters and checked out the surrounding areas. We stopped by 3 waterfalls, a pretty impressive temple and headed to Hyeopjae Beach where we camped for the night.
- 21st September: We had until midday to take our scooters back. We stopped along the way to look at the beautiful volcanic shoreline of the island.
Later in the afternoon we took a bus to get to Sunrise Peak, where we made our second campsite.
- 22nd September: We woke up at 430 and made our way to the base of Sunrise Peak. The walk up all the stairs to the top took about 15 minutes.
In the afternoon we took the ferry across to Udo Island where we hired ATV’s, explored, ate empanadas and swam.
At night we made our way back to Jeju City for our last night on this amazing island.
- 23 September: Flew back Yeosu, took a taxi to Suncheon, trained back to Jeonju, took a bus to Iksan to pick up the car and then drove back to Gunsan. It was a long day of travel but well worth it.