I'm back. It's been a while since my last post, but after a gentle rebuke from B... (a good friend) I've decided to follow up on this blog.
I love it here in Korea. I love teaching and I love "my kids". Some of them really have no desire to learn English and can get rather disruptive in class, but with a little "tough love" it is usually quite easy to get them under control. For the most part, though, they are very excited about learning English or at least learning about the strange foreigner who stands in front of them everyday. Everyone of them says, "Hi" or "Hello" to me every day. I am literally the first white guy they have ever seen and they still can't figure out that I don't speak their language. "Hi" or "Hello" is all they say and then they begin talking to me in Korean, somehow thinking that I know what they are saying. It's kind of funny because some of them just keep talking to me - I just keep saying "I have no idea what your saying," but it doesn't stop them.
I've decided to learn the equivalent of what I teach them in English in Korean. I think that in this way I can accomplish two things. First, I can show them that learning another language is important. If I learn what they learn in my language in theirs, they may be more motivated to learn my language. Second, I can't think of a better way to learn Korean than to practice what I am preaching. In many ways I'm just a kid learning a new language just like them.
Let me tell you a little about my home. I live in Jinju. It is a city of about 100,000. Roughly the same size, population wise, as the city I grew up in but a whole lot smaller in geographical size. In Korea, people live "on top" of each other, whereas in America we live "by" each other. This is one of many "cultural" differences that takes some getting used to. One advantage of this is that I can get anywhere in Jinju on my bike in less than thity minutes. Which brings up another point that I thank god for everyday. Jinju is probably the most Bicycle friendly city in Korea. They have wonderful bike paths and wide sidewalks with bike lanes on them. People walk on those bike lanes, but my bike has a very convenient bell which people respond to instictively - they are very used to hearing them.
Bukchun, where I teach, is a very small village. I can walk from one end to the other in less than five minutes. If I were to walk around the whole thing it might take fifteen minutes, but that is only because I would have to walk on the burms between the rice fields and would have to be carefull. However, the people are extremely nice. They all say hello to me and one man who doesn't speak a lick of English has befriended me. I stop by his restaraunt all the time and he gives me coffee - not good coffee, but the thought makes it the best. Like the kids, he doesn't care that I don't understand what he says, he just says it anyway. Usually, after a lot of body language, we can understand eachother - or not. But it is fun seeing him anyway.
It is 5:30 Am now and I have to get to Busan today to meet a group of Christians. God is working! I'll try to be more faithful to this post. I want to say I'll write everyday, but you all know me - once a week will be more realistic.
One Final thing. I'd like to set up "pen pals" for my kids. If you know of children between 1st grade and 6th grade who would like to correspond with rural Korean kids please let me know.
I gotta Go.
May God Richly Bless You,