Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 month update

Hooooooorayyyyy! I have now been in korea for ten months, and have some pretty exciting news: I finally made up my mind about whether I wanted to renew or not, and most importantly, my school, and the Seoul Office of Education decided as well, and I'm staying for a second year! I have signed my new contract, and will go in to renew my visa and health check within the next few weeks. Deep inside, I think I knew all along that I wanted to stay, my hesitation came from feeling guilty about being away from my family, and letting more time pass by before I succumb to expectations about where I should be at this point in my life. Thankfully, even though I know my mom isn't thrilled about the idea of me staying a second year, she has been supportive and was happy when I told her I had passed my evaluations.

Now that renewal is out of the way, I'm spending my time preparing for Summer camp. I have already finished the workbook, next will be making power points, and coming up with activities that will fill ten day, and four hours each day -___-;
 It is really hot and humid now, they say the monsoon season has started so we've had more cloudy days than sunny days lately.  My school doesn't really like turning on the air conditioning, so teaching has gotten really difficult; not only do I feel exhausted, but It's hard to get the students excited about learning and participating when everybody is busy fanning themselves or trying to stay completely still to stay cool.

To cope with the heat, I keep my mind thinking about my vacations coming up within the next couple of months! In August, I'm finally going to visit my friends in Japan for two weeks! I will be spending most of the time in Tokyo, but I'm hoping to travel to the Kyoto/Osaka area. In university I had may Japanese friends, some of whom I haven't seen in a few years, so I'm really looking forward to that reunion. Then in mid September Korea will celebrate Chuseok (similar to American Thanksgiving) and I will have a five day break from school. During that time, some of my friends and I have booked a mini vacation to Beijing, China! If you take a look back at my Asia travel wishlist that I wrote while I was still in the States, none of these places were on it! but, they are still places I'm happy to be going to. While in Beijing, I'm most looking forward to climbing the Great Wall. Although I miss my family very much, I don't have plans to return the the U.S. until I'm finished working abroad for good. I just think I owe it to myself to take advantage of these opportunities and travel  and and see as much as I can. Depending on my winter schedule though, I am hoping to visit my grandparents in Guatemala and hopefully my parents can fly down and meet me there. If that doesn't work out, perhaps I will tackle another country from my list.

Whatever happens, or wherever I go next, I'm just relieved that at least my job and living arrangements have been sorted out for the next 14 months. Luckily, my closest friends in Seoul have all signed on for a second year as well, so I'm looking forward to making more memories together with them~

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rainbow Island Music Festival 2013

Rainbow Island Music Festival is held on Nami Island located right outside of Seoul. It is a popular tourist spot for it's scenic views, and drama filming locations, thanks to the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) I was able to enjoy this event with a 3 day pass. The event had a timetable of performers and what stage they would be at, so people were constantly moving back and forth to see everyone. No band or artist played at the same time, it was instead set up so that they would have their own stage and time, while the next band on another stage was practicing or setting up.

For this festival, you can enter the standing area near the stage to watch the band or artist up close or set up a mat nearby or under the shade to just relax and enjoy the music. The weather was very hot and people kept fanning themselves and trying to hide from the sun. On Saturday my friend and I left our mats and roamed around each stage seeing different artists. We ended up seeing Achime, Park Sae Byul, Urban Zakapa, Yoo Seung Woo, Peppertones, Jung Jae Hyung, and TRAVIS. Saturday night many people who only had a day pass started leaving, but those with overnight passes continued on until 3 a.m.!

On the last night Nell performed, and was my favorite part of the festival! Before the start of their set there was a sign to beware there would be water rockets. I saw the camera guy wearing a raincoat and I figured it would just be sprinkles to cover the standing area, but I was wrong. As soon as Nell started playing their first song, the water went off and it completely covered everybody. It felt good and refreshing.

There is so much more to this festival but it is hard to write it all down because you just have to experience it to understand.

Below are a few snapshots taken by my friend who accompanied me on this trip.