As a tall (5’10”/178cm), black woman, I stick out in Korea. The only time I can possibly blend in is during the winter time, when I’m covered from head to toe. I’ve gotten used to the looks of astonishment that I will get from people here and it normally doesn’t bother me too much. As long as the person staring at me is a child or elderly person, then I’m okay. People my age – maybe 50 do not get the same pass. At those ages, the internet and TV are great resources to use.
It’s been a year and some change since I last posted… yikes! Honestly, I just didn’t feel like writing. Although, I feel I should because my English skills have suffered, not because I’m amazing at Korean now, but because I mostly use low level English to talk to my students. I say things in a way that they understand to avoid blank stares from the students, I drop articles, I use konglish sometimes (eg. mechanical pencil -> sharp), and I exaggerate words. Since I do all of those things on a very regular basis, it’s hard to remember the right way to say things and that’s bad – one, I’m their NATIVE English teacher and two, I’m American.
Since I had 3 weeks of vacation time this summer, I decided to enroll in a 3-week Korean program. There were several universities to choose from, but in the end I went with Sungkyunkwan University because it was close to my apartment and it was the cheapest option. When researching their Korean program, I didn’t find too many people talking about it online, but I couldn’t beat the price. I enrolled as a level 1 student even though I knew some basic Korean because there were gaps in my learning from having studied alone and attending a survival Korean course a handful of times.
A few Saturdays ago, a friend and I went on an excursion outside of Seoul. My friend felt the need to cross bungee jumping off of her bucket list and I said that I would accompany her. Not to bungee jump, mind you, just to document her craziness with pictures and video.
I’m sure many of you are aware of the current MERS situation here in Korea, so first off let me tell you that I am healthy and somewhat out of the zone that it has affected. As of yesterday, 20 people have died from MERS, most of whom had pre-existing conditions, and about 142 infected. I won’t say anything bad about the how this situation has been handled, but I can’t stop you from reading articles online.
Summer (June to August)
I got here mid August, so summer was supposed to be winding down, but it felt like the height of summer. I remember buying a bottle of cold water at the convenience store and a 5 minute walk later, it wasn’t cold at all. Those days were full of sweat. If it wasn’t overbearingly hot, it was raining. So really, my clothes were always a little bit wet. I’m not looking forward to summer.
It’s been quite some time since my last post, sorry readers! In my last post, I talked about getting my last wisdom tooth pulled. The good news is that I didn’t end up losing feeling in my chin, so I’m pretty happy about that! As it has been quite a while since my last post, I’m trying to decide what I should start talking about first. I think the three big topics are: winter camp, my trip to Fukuoka, Japan, and an update on daily life in Korea.