The final semester of school is already well underway. My timetable has switched to focussing on the 1st grade students, with the 3rd graders taking a backseat. This term is the most interrupted of the year, with endless trips, club days and public holidays making it feel like I hardly teach; which was pretty much true beforehand anyway.
My weekends have been packed, making the most of the summer weather, which has been slightly less sweaty than last year, but still super warm. There’s been lots of summer drinking times – at a lake full of inflatables, alongside a river, bars, clubs. Busy busy post-vacation, but pre-frisbee.
I had a final visit from two friends, Sara and Laura, in Korea. I had the usual challenge of trying to feed them every Korean dish possible in a tiny space of time, but we still found plenty of time for exploring, including a visit to the DMZ/JSA.
I thought the JSA was all a bit ridiculous. The setup of guards posing dramatically at each other across the official border line is all just there for tourists to photo, as soon as we leave they go back inside and chill. It is quite literally a spectacle for people to peer into a theatre of war. I’ve been asked by a few people what the mood is like in South Korea with the amount of news broadcast concerning the North’s missile/nuclear program. Life goes on completely as usual. People in Seoul are probably more worried about whether their shoes match their outfit than if missiles are about to fly over. It’s certainly not talked about in my day-to-day school life.
We certainly didn’t take the tour all that seriously, struggling to keep a straight face as we ‘crossed into North korea’ for our selfies. Shameless tourists for sure. We also visited a nice lookout point where they pointlessly blare music and propaganda out into the countryside. Alongside this was one of the tunnels that was built sometime in the 70s by the North in its plans to re-invade the South.
Also happening in life, my school’s principal retired. For some reason this happens two weeks into the term, so he came and hung out for a bit, we threw him a party with a ridiculously big cake and then the new guy arrived after term had started. Why this transition doesn’t happen during the vacation I’ll never know, but that’s Korea. I also got more new running shoes – they don’t tend to last that long with me. I nearly ordered a sensible black colour, but then realised I’d always wished I’d gone for the bright turquoise, so amended my order. They’re the newer iteration of my old ones and the minor changes seem to make quite a bit of difference – reinforced sidewalls which should help them last and an extra 2mm of padding on the sole, which sounds like nothing, but in a complete minimalist shoe makes the world of difference, they almost feel bouncy!
This weekend sees the restart of the frisbee league. Excited for a fun couple of months throwing plastic around. Just two weeks left until I’m out of school for 10 days thanks to an extended thanksgiving holiday!