September 23, 2009

The first post...

(*Click on the title to see more pics!)

So here we are six weeks in, we have finally decided to start our blog. We are working in Paju English Village which is North West of Seoul and right by the DMZ. We can see North Korea from our apartment. When we arrived on our first night our apartment was decorated with a cute welcoming sign and some little balloons. We also got given some supplies of food, we thought this was a nice surprise. Our apartment was a lot bigger than we expected, which was an extra bonus. So far we have had an interesting time at school. When we first arrived the school was in the middle of an intensive course. We managed to observe a few classes. They were fun, much better than last year! David is a drama and music teacher and I am a cooking and movie making teacher. The second week at work the school got a case of Swine flu. Six adult students and one teacher became infected with the H1N1 virus. As a precaution the students were sent home and all of the staff got put into quarantine. This meant we had to stay in our apartments the majority of the time. We were allowed outside to wonder around the grounds of English Village but we would have to wear attractive face masks. We have been out of quarantine for three weeks but the school still has no students because they are scared of catching the virus. This has resulted in many boring training workshops. Although we are grateful that we are getting paid!
Outside of work we have been very busy. We have bought a car and are making the most of it by seeing as much of Korea as we can. The first few weekends was spent exploring our local area and taking short trips to Seoul. We went to a Love Camp (Admission fee = 1 candle + a flower) which is a strange hippy party on the side of a mountain. It was cool as it was pretty small and isolated with loads of laid back Koreans. (Quite an unusual occurrence in Korea.) One weekend we drove down to Daegu to visit a few friends and collect our stuff from last year. It was nice getting all of our bits and pieces back. Last weekend we visited the DMZ in Imjingak. There is a peace park and peace train, a death bridge as well as a freedom bridge and many monuments explaining the significance of it all. It is strange to find all of these cultural artifacts next to an amusement park!

Friday 18th September was the start of our two week vacation as it is Chuseok. Chuseok is one of Korea’s most largely celebrated holidays. It is a time when families and friends gather to share food and enjoy their time together, giving thanks to their ancestors for the year’s bountiful harvests. We are planning a road trip around the coast of Korea. We are very excited because we will be exploring parts of the country that we haven’t seen before. Hopefully the summer will hold out and last just a little bit longer.