I'm back! Back in Pohang, South Korea, and back to blogging! Sorry for the wait - if you were waiting. My life has been very full recently and unfortunately that fullness hasn't included blogging. But now I've started and you already know something about how things are going for me over here: things are busy. To be honest, the real reason why I'm blogging now is because I've come down with a nasty cold which has made me take a break from my usual weekly schedule. It's been a valuable break though, because it has helped me see how things that I enjoy doing, like soccer and hockey practice, can loose their excitement and seem like a chore after a while if I don't take a break from them and think about why I like them. And this break gives me a chance to blog, so that's good.
So, what's it like to be back in Pohang you ask?
Well, I know that, through my past blogs, I've made my previous time in
Pohang sound pretty sweet. But, if you can believe it, for the most
part, things have only improved since then. First, and most
importantly, my spaghetti has improved. I've been making some really
good spaghetti these days. In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm chowing
down on some scrumptious leftover spaghetti made with sausage, onions,
green pepper, parsley, lots of black pepper, and this really good tomato
cream sauce that I found. Also in the food category, I've discovered
yellow kiwis from Jeju Island, and they are the best fruit EVER! Every
time I eat one I can't believe how good they are. But they're also
super expensive and I could only afford them before I looked at the
price and realized how much they were.
Another area of improvement
has been my church. I'm a part of this really great community that has
become like a family for me. It was a really great church before I
left too, but since then our meeting place has been made into this cool
coffee shop, the church has grown a lot, and I've become more involved
in its leadership and activities. It was a major reason that I came
back to Pohang, and it has been such a blessing for me.
My job is
also a lot better than before. I loved being at Poly despite its flaws,
but it was a stressful place to work. I'm working at another English
academy, but my hours are a lot better. Now I'm at school from 1:30 to
8:30, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm only teaching for half that
time. That's a huge difference from the 10 hours I was teaching
before. My director is also a lot more easy going and friendly, and I
have three super cool Korean co-teachers. I'm not teaching kindergarten
any more, which I miss, but, surprisingly, the classes that I enjoy
teaching the most these days are my middle schoolers.
situation has improved as well. Now I'm living in a spacious,
two-bedroom apartment which is only a four minute walk to my school and a
fifteen minute walk to the beach! My apartment complex even has an
organized recycling system! That's a huge step up from the
dump-all-your-garbage-on-the-street-corner system that I had when I
first came to Pohang.
Probably the most practical improvement over
my previous time in Korea has been my Korean. I'm taking a free Korean
class at City Hall that meets two times a week. It's great! It's good
to be a student again, and I have cool people in my class, who make it
fun. I feel really good about not living in Korea and simply getting
by with a limited Korean vocabulary while I teach 1st graders their
second language. And, while I've always been a brilliant individual,
these classes are definitely making me even smarter!
Korea itself has
seemed to improve over the time that I was gone - it seems more
beautiful at least. I was sure blown away by the beauty of the spring
blossoms and flowers here. Korea does springtime well.
some things have upgraded since being here last, sadly, my soccer team
has not. In the two-plus years that I've played for the Pohang Ironmen,
we haven't won a league game yet. Yup, it's a bummer. But I think
we've mostly gotten used to it. I still have a lot of fun.
Here are some other things about my life back in Pohang:
Alisa. I'm happy to be close to her again. She was the biggest reason
I came back, and it's been good. But we're both pretty busy so we've
found it hard to find hangout time. Maybe I'll have to make some
adjustments to set my priorities straight.
2. A motorcycle. I
don't have one. I've missed not having one. But I've also enjoyed
taking the city bus all over. It's a great way to people watch.
3. Hockey. It's still crazy to me that I'm playing more hockey living in Korea than I ever played living in Canada.
I've joined a group called Salja, which is the Korean verb 'to live'.
It was started by some friends of mine who wanted to address the issue
of suicide among Korea's youth. I'm glad I'm a part of this group
because I see this as a major wrong in Korean culture that isn't being
addressed. This past weekend it was Children's Day and we had a
celebration on the beach where kids came and we played games, painted
faces, and enjoyed awesome weather.
5. I ran a 10 kilometer
race! It was my first actual race and it was awesome. The race was in
Gyeoungju, so close by; it was perfect weather, and I feel like I did
really well. I ran it in 47 minutes and I'm pretty sure I could have
done it in under 45. Now I'm thinking about doing the half-marathon at
the race in Pohang in June.
6. Haejangguk. It's still the best food in the world, and I'm glad to be able to eat it whenever I want.
do I have any regrets about coming back to Pohang? None whatsoever.
Being home and going on a good long road trip was great for me. But
having made the decision to come back here, and now being close to three
months into it, I feel very blessed to be here. I feel that God does
have me here for a purpose.
PS. Feel free to read the ending to my epic road trip which I just finished now. (See below)