Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Recap

Middle school starts back up tomorrow.  Figured it’s as good a time as any to update you on my summer.  My middle school had a summer break between July 23 and August 21.  This is a break between semesters, as opposed to a break between school years like in America.  During that month, I had seven days off per my contract.  For the other days, I worked at an English summer camp held at a local elementary school (I can actually see the school from my apartment).  Although I was working, it was a nice to change things up a bit.  And, I did manage to fit a lot in…

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Enjoying the sunset in
Halong Bay!

I traveled to Vietnam for seven days with three other foreigners: an American, Canadian, and Kiwi (from New Zealand).  We had an awesome time!  We spent a night on a boat in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Being on the boat in the bay was so peaceful.  We spent some time on a beach, did some kayaking, and toured a cave.

The beautiful countryside of Sapa!
Loving the terraced
rice fields of Sapa.
After Halong Bay, it was an overnight trip on a train to get to Sapa.  The countryside of Sapa was breathtaking!  Trekking through the countryside was the highlight of the trip for me.  Just look at the pictures, and you’ll see why.

Another interesting thing about the trip was the traffic in Hanoi.  Hanoi was our starting and ending point, as well as a mid-trip stop, so we spent a fair amount of time in Hanoi.  Most people ride motorbikes in the city, and there are basically no traffic rules.  Crossing the street is unreal…it’s a human frogger game.  There is no way to really describe what it’s like.  Just YouTube “Hanoi traffic” and prepare to be amused and amazed.
Hanoi on your toes at all times!

All in all, Vietnam was a great experience!  So glad to get to experience another part of East Asia!!  Check out my album on Facebook to see more pics.

SCUBA Certification

Off the coast of Haeundae Beach
I have wanted to get SCUBA certified ever since my first diving experience on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia back in ’96.  However, I never quite had the time or money to do it.  Now I have both!  It was a very cool experience.  I’m looking forward to exploring another world.  My first dive as a certified diver will be with Karla Schottle.  She’s coming for a visit and arrives on September 1…CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Summer Camp
Working the English summer camp was a great experience!  It gave me exposure to the elementary level.  As would be expected, students whose parents are pay for them to attend a summer English camp are at a little higher level.  For the most part, they were eager to learn and participate, which is a bit of a switch from my middle schoolers.  On the other hand, they are a little whinier and needier than my middle school students.  There are goods and bads to everything.  I am thankful for the experience, though.  I want as much exposure to the teaching environment in Korea I can get.  Heck, I want as much exposure to everything Korea that I can get.  That’s why I’m here!

So, tomorrow I start back at the middle school.  Part of me is ready because I’m looking forward to getting my routine back and seeing my coworkers, who are truly fabulous people.  Part of me is not ready because middle schoolers are a bit of a tough crowd.  I’m still figuring them out, and I’m sure they’re still figuring me out.  In that process, we have good moments and some less than desirable moments.  Luckily, the good moments shine brighter.  It’s all part of the process of experiencing a whole new culture! J

Well, that’s the recap of my summer!  I am still loving life in Korea and soaking up as much as I can.  I continue to make Korean friends and enjoy learning about the culture.  There are so many amazing things about Korea and Koreans.  Can’t wait to see what I learn next…

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