Its hard to judge a place in a matter of days, but being the sort of “drive by” traveler I’ve become thats usually how I do it. On Semester at Sea we had about 3-7 days to explore, absorb a culture, and hopefully learn a thing or two from someone with a different world view than ourselves.
Absorbing a place that will now be my home for the next year is entirely different. Walking around my area of Geoje or my “hood” as I like to refer to it as, has brought me back to the place on Semester at Sea where I felt more alive and accomplished then ever before. It’s not so much of the “take in everything you see” feeling; but more of the “remember where that bank is” and “remember to avoid that man’s food cart,” feeling.
Although I realize this is just the beginning, being thrown into a classroom of Korean 5 year olds my very first day, finding and making friends my first weekend, and managing to snag a Korean cell phone by day 3, I am assured more than ever that I can not only handle the unknown, but thrive as well.
Okay, okay enough of that. More importantly than what I previously mentioned, HUMOR is the most crucial ingredient in this recipe. Having a sense of humor has gotten me through most situations in my life and learning to accept and understand Korea is no different.
ENGLISH NAMES. Each Korean child has an English name that is easier for foreign teachers like myself to use. At NoBuYoung Academy, the children are allowed to make up their own…Here are my favorite thus far:
2. Decepticorn (from transformers but ending in corn)
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. Harry Potter (I wanted George Clooney but we compromised with Harry Potter)