A Travellerspoint blog

May 13th

I'm coming up on my year here and the main thing that I've noticed is how children really do grow up so fast. Yes I've watched my nieces and nephews grow, but I don't see them everyday and I don't grade them on their English abilities.

It's been baffling me how much these kids have grown in one year, for the ones that have stayed the whole year I've been here. I've grown extremely attached to some of them, to a point where I asked one of my girls if she could ask her mom if she could come home with me. She completely understood what I was asking, but a year ago she was still learning pencil and days. Now she puts sentences together and has impeccable pronunciation.

To watch these kids develop and grow has been a secret blessing. A year has gone by so fast and without notice these kids have had birthdays and new baby brothers or sisters be born. An hour for them is excruciating, but for me I'm getting to a point where it's not enough time.

A favorite class of mine, which consists of 9 precious bright girls and one adorable struggling boy, got so upset when I said I was leaving in 2 months. As much as I've grown attached to them they too have become attached to me and it's going to be a struggle to hold back the tears that are going to pour out of my eyes when I leave them.

For now though I'm just trying to enjoy my last month and a half left. A couple of trips are in the works around Korea and a lot of meditation beach time is being taken advantage of. The meditation is much needed because the stress of trying to get everything situated for when I get back into Tx is mounting up. Hopefully I can counteract the two. :)

Love.

Posted by almchenry 19:09 Comments (0)

March 25th

Hello all! Just wanted to give you a brief update as to what has been happening during the past month. Things have been super busy!

To start off, I went shark diving in the Busan Aquarium. It was fantastic and cold. The guy that runs the place has an underwater camera that he let us use. He published the pictures and posted them on his website. I then copied the photos and will send a link to you so you can see them. All in all, a fun time.

Then came the big trip to the Philippines. March 12th-20th was spent on vacation in Puerto Galera. I had an amazing time scuba diving for 6 days and relaxing on the beach. It was the much needed vaycay that is helping me keep sane. I have pictures that I will upload to a flikr account so you can see them there. I'll say this, the Philippines is definitely a country that gets over looked. Hopefully I will be able to go back sometime!

Other than that, I'm in the process of deciding on what my next move will be. South Korea is wearing me down so traveling plans could change. Just like the country I reside in, nothing will be till last minute (even though I will try so hard to pre-plan).

I will post a link to shark diving and PG soon.

Much love.
ALM

Posted by almchenry 04:16 Comments (0)

Feb. 24th

Just a small update. For the most part, everything is the same-o-same-o. Coming up on my 8 month anniversary of being here in South Korea, I'm completely exhausted and really hating my job.

Just like the rest of the world, Korea is having it's financial problems. Because of this, parents are pulling their kids out of academies and the schools are suffering. In an effort to enroll new students, my boss is going out of his mind and serving everyone with a huge work load, that is really unnecessary. The Korean logic is, "if it's not working, work 8 times more." Instead of taking in account of the economic problem and understanding that everyone in Korea is having financial difficulty, he thinks the teachers should jump through hoops, swim with sharks (I'll get to that later), and do other outrageous activities that serve no purpose in trying to enroll more students. Not to mention the fact that he is having us, the foreign teachers, do GnB's job of training new teachers. Personally, I think it's not my responsibility to train new teachers. If GnB wants their teachers to teach and educate a certain way, then it's their duty as an employer to do so; not their employees. I'm on a serious countdown right now.

Onto other exciting news, I will be swimming with sharks this Sunday March 1st. Back in December, there was a fundraiser for orphanages in Busan. The fundraiser was a silent auction along with a dating auction (men and women provided dates and whoever was the winning bidder got a date. I did not partake in this part of the auction.). A friend and I were having a bidding war with the item "swimming with sharks". There were two tickets up for grabs and eventually I won. I paid a good price for them, but the way I saw it is, if it's helping kids stay warm during winter and helping them try to live a decent life, then it was all worth it. The place to go is right here in Haeundae on the beach in the Busan Aquarium. A couple of my friends have already done it and said that it was a blast. Apparently there is a turtle that nips at you, but all you have to do is push him away (he was described as Crush, from Finding Nemo). The sharks that are there are Great Whites - just kidding. :) They are Nurse Sharks and they're one of the more gentle sharks. I'm really stoked to do it, and the girl I've invited to go with me is super stoked as well. Here is the site to take a preview of what's to be expected:http://www.scubainkorea.com/Shark_Diving/Shark_Diving.htm It's going to be a fun time, and I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them up here too!

The reason that I decided to do the swimming with sharks right now is because I have vacation coming up. I just purchased the biggest item ever in my whole life, by myself, and it's a plane ticket to the Philippines!!! I'm heading on a trip, alone, to Puerto Galera in the Philippines come March 12th. It's going to be the first time I take a vacation sans anyone else (South Korea is not vacation) and really do whatever I want. I'll be there from March 12th - March 20th and the majority of my trip is going to be scuba diving, laying on a beach, drinking something out of a coconut, and laying in a hammock reading a book. The shark diving is getting me reacquainted with diving since it's been a couple of years since my last dive. If I can make it to March 12th then the rest of my time here in South Korea is going to be easy as pie. I understand why they give us 10 days vacation. In the middle of my time spent here, I really do need it. So Puerto Galera is my destination that I have chosen and I think, and hope, that it'll give me everything that I've been needing. And I'll make sure to take a ton of pictures and post them too!!

Other than that, like I said, everything is same-o-same-o. It's starting to warm up a little bit so me and a girlfriend run down to the beach MWF and it's just nice. I hate winter because I get so lazy and unproductive, so now that summer is coming up, I have a feeling that things will look up. I'll keep you posted on what happens this weekend.

So, TTFN.
ALM

Posted by almchenry 18:50 Comments (1)

Jan.29th

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." - Emily Dickinson

Which is why I haven't written a blog in such a long time. To all who sent a message for my birthday, thank you so much! I know that it has taken me a while to respond to you, but each and every message made me smile! So here's the low down:

January is what is known as intensives. Intensives are when the kids go on vacation from Korean school, however they still go to academy. Since there is no Korean school, our time of work changes from 2pm to 10am. Instead of leaving at 8 we leave at 6. Thankfully this is almost over! I really enjoy the 2-8 schedule when I'm not entirely exhausted at the end of the day. Also, there are only 2 foreign teachers working. Typically there are 4, however one of the new teachers decided that at a week and a half he was ready to go back to Canada. Apparently "his girlfriend thinks she is pregnant"... The rest of us things that's a pile and he just couldn't handle it. To each his own I suppose, but he has left the two of us doing all of his work, while two other teachers are trying to come in but are having a quite a bit of difficulty. So they should be here within the next few weeks. Here's to hoping.

I'm ready for February.

These past two weekends, I have made trips up to Daegu (it is the fourth largest city) to get out of Busan. Lately everything has been monotonous, so me and a couple of girlfriends have made trips up there to spice it up. Daegu is an hour away from Busan on the KTX (which is the fast train). It's about 9000w, but if there are four then we get a discount to 6000w. Daegu is such a breath of fresh air, probably because everything is new, but it's very different than Busan. Daegu has a very large army base, so the variety in origins is very vast compared to Busan. Busan tends to have the same bars, clothes, people, and attitude. There is only Starbucks and Angle-in-Us coffee, unlike Daegu that has mom-n-pop coffee shops (and if you know me, I'm a full supporter of the little people). Daegu has such an array of style and charisma that Busan doesn't, and it's so refreshing to have that!

Since today is my 7th month mark, I'm really starting to figure out what I'm going to do once I get out of here. My contract is up June29th, but I'm thinking about extending for one month and then doing a summer camp in August. A friend of mine is doing a winter camp and she is earning about 3,500,000w for one month, and that specific camp also happens to do a summer camp as well. My friend is going to give me her boss's email and number that way I can contact her for the summer camp. It would be a nice chunk of change to have for traveling and afterwards.

So for now, if everything goes my way (and why shouldn't it?) I'll be home sometime ... maybe November? By the time I finish the summer camp in August, then travel for a month and a half or two, it puts me in November. Nothing is finalized though but I'm working on making things happen. Who knows what this crazy journey has in store for me though.

Otherwise, everything is going well, but once February hits, it'll be even better. I'm ready for summer, the beach, traveling, and scuba diving. Oh, and mentioning scuba diving, I think that's what I'm going to do for a couple of years - possibly in Honduras. I'm working on that as well, but I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch.

Thanks again for all of the messages and concerns! Love.

Posted by almchenry 23:30 Comments (0)

Nov. 23rd

It's a rainy cold Monday afternoon. The perfect day to put in a new entry about perms.

As most of you know, I have naturally curly/wavy hair when I don't do anything to it. On a day like this, I'm not going to do anything but put mouse in and go with it naturally. Funny enough though, every time I go into work my co-workers and kids are in awe and freak out because of my curly hair. Even a lady in my muay thai class thought I got a perm one day. I try to explain to them that it's just natural, but they insist that I got a perm. It's just funny and entertaining to me.

Thanksgiving is coming up and even though it won't be traditional, it'll still be a time that I'm thankful. To make it short and simple, thanks everyone who has sent emails and are keeping me in their thoughts. The love and support that I've gotten is more appreciated than I can express. So thanks.

Love.

Posted by almchenry 19:49 Comments (0)

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