Day 926

May 03, 2014

Update time!

With the beginning of a new school year came the 'beginning of a new school year' staff dinners/trips. There aren't as many young teachers at my school as there were last year, but we still have a pretty solid group. We've partaken in many activities together so far: volleyball games, field trips, soju...

I celebrated my third St Patricks Day in Korea in much the same way I would have in Canada; I had some friends over to my house, prepared jello shots that I picked up in Guam, headed to the one bar in town that was celebrating, and had a jolly time.

Some friends in Mokpo got married in late March and I was lucky enough to attend their beautiful, traditional Korean wedding. I had been to weddings in Korea before, but this was the first traditional wedding. Traditional Korean weddings don't generally take place anymore and, from what I've heard, are mostly done by foreigners. It was quite the experience; I'll touch on details of Korean weddings in a separate post.

I've had an itch to take a road trip in Korea so once the winter faded, I rented a car with some friends and drove out to the east coast. We ended up in Jinhae which was hosting one of Korea's most famous cherry blossom festivals. We probably spent more time in the car than at the actual festival (5 hours each way!), but great people and music made it worth it. The idea of driving in Korea seemed a bit unnerving: Think of Canada's entire population, doubled, and crammed into a country that's 100 times smaller with a bunch of subpar drivers. That's Korea. I survived the road trip which feels like the ultimate victory and has made me want to buy my own car.

The cherry blossom festival in Jinhae was only one of many chances to see cherry blossoms this year; there were festivals at a local park and university campus as well.

This picture was taken through a car window on my way home from work but 
somehow ended up being better than any photo I took at any festival this year!

With the new season of spring also comes a new season of baseball! I'm not a particularly avid fan of baseball, but as I've said many times, I absolutely love the atmosphere of games here (until my ADD kicks in). I headed to Gwangju's new, fabulous baseball stadium with some new, fabulous friends.

And lastly but not leastly, I signed up to take the TOPIK (Test Of Proficiency In Korean) which took place Easter Sunday at the local university. I didn't take it for any particular reason but it did give me a goal to work toward and a concrete purpose to study. I took the beginner level test which only covers grammar, writing, listening, and reading. It was an interesting experience and I'll get my results later this month. I'll get into the details of that in a separate post.

I think that just about covers it. It's a 4-day weekend! Monday is Children's Day and Tuesday is Buddha's Birthday, so I am thankful to both children and Buddha for existing. I will celebrate appropriately with zen, sunshine, and beer.  

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