6 months in!

We have been teaching here for 6 months and have had a wonderful journey so far.  We just sent our third set of visitors home, celebrated Akasha’s birthday, and finished the mid-term of  our second semester. Here’s a quick rundown of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.

Teaching:
Mike: Teaching has been a pleasant surprise for me. The students are for the most part eager to learn, and my fellow teachers are generous and supportive. The curriculum’s curious syntax is often a challenge (How’s your sister? She is tall!), as is trying to keep lesson plans fresh, but I’m getting more creative every week.

Akasha:  My students are wonderful. My co-teacher is a great guy, we plan and teach 50/50 and he likes to have fun and keep the kids motivated.  My only gripe is that the curriculum isn’t very demanding.  The students repeat nearly identical lessons for 4 years of elementary school, by the time they are in 6th grade it is hard to keep them engaged.  The highlight of my 6 months was definitely teaching summer camp where I got to develop the curriculum.

Travel:
Getting around has been easy and relatively inexpensive. Since we’ve been here, we’ve seen the following cities: Haenam, Muan, Gwangju, Yeoungam, Busan, Seoul, and the islands of Wando, Oedaldo, Biggeumdo, and Cheungsando. For our anniversary we are planning to go up to Masan for the Chrysanthemum Festival.

The Future:
Is unknown.  We’ve been debating what to do next. There are many interesting options out there.

What we miss:
More than anything, we miss you.  There is nothing in the world that can replace years of friendship or the bonds of family.  We’ve been so lucky to have 4 friends visit, made millions of Skype calls, and we love your post cards, but we miss you.  A lot.  We’ve made some great friends here.  Every few months there is a new group of teachers and we get together to welcome them with dinner and a party.

 This weekend we’ll have a Halloween party. I, Kasha, am volunteering at the bake sale, and Mike is volunteering at the poker/ darts tournament.  All proceeds go to the orphanage that I volunteer at. We also miss burgers.  It is a 45 minute bus ride to the nearest hamburger.  It is a good burger, but it’s no Juicy Lucy.

I hope the next 6 months of teaching go as well as the past 6 months have. Keep your post cards and care packages coming, and we’ll keep on posting our adventures here and on Facebook for you to share.

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Birthday time

It is almost time for my B-day, and our 6 month mark here.  I’m a little homesick for the bonfire and barbeque we would be having at home.  There’s no good place around here to have a fire, so I think we’ll just go out for Korean BBQ with a few friends. I hope that we stay here for a bit, but I can’t wait for my next backyard birthday BBQ with ya’ll again.  (pout)

In the mean time, there is nothing that we would love more than a birthday postcard and or bday Skype call.

I am excited for the Halloween party we’ll be having in Mokpo.  It’s a fundraiser for the orphanage I volunteer at and should be a great time.  In addition to a thriller dance-off, and a costume contest, there will be a bake-sale.  I’m trying to find the ingredeients necessary for a cookie-bar extravaganza!   Marshmallows go for $10 a bag here, dashing my krispy bar dreams, but I’ll whip something up.    Halloween is not a Korean thing, but it seems the foreigners know how to do it up right.