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October... what happened??

“See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Again I say October what happened?? Where did you go?? I swear it can't be November already. It just can't be.

Clearly time just needs to stop happening so fast! Although I say this as if it is only October that is passing at warp speed. The past year has been insane. But my October has been spent in a bliss of various fall activities, school, and much needed socializing with people outside in the real world. What was that life? A good job? Why thank you.

Let's see the last time I left you I had participated in the Zombie Walk... I was going to do a silent dance party but I ended up not doing that. The weather has been amazing and I have fallen in love with the color of changing leaves.

There is a school festival coming up so my school has been a little crazy getting all the different clubs organized. My coteacher has an English singing and dancing club and they have been working very hard lately perfecting two different English songs. I am really looking forward to their performance of L.O.V.E. by Nat King Cole. They are adorable. And they have this strange little song about a tad pool becoming a frog... it's strange but the dance my coteacher made is chalk so full of cute it makes you gag.

My sixth graders are also studying bullying and racism in their class so I keep getting little groups of kids who want to interview me to talk about any racism I, or anyone I know, have encountered in Korea. I know that racism is still a big issue in the world and I have heard many horror stories from expats in Korea but I have never been on the receiving end of racism in Korea. Although I have noticed any time I have a black person in my ppts some of my students yell out "OBAMA!!" The only thing I can say is I have been treated differently because I look partly Korean and some Koreans don't understand why I can't speak Korean if I look Korean. Some older individuals have been rather forceful in their annoyance but that was about it. I do know a friend who could not find a teaching job, despite her being born and raised in the US, because she is Korean. She did not look the part of a foreign teacher. Korea is getting better, but like most countries, there is still a long way to go.

But I take pride in my waygook status. Just last weekend I took part in a picture scavenger hunt with friends. We dressed up for halloween and in teams of 3 and 4 we set out in search of random pictures on a check list. For an hour and a half teams of waygooks dressed in funky Halloween costumes ran around the major shopping areas of Ilsan taking pictures of things like: everyone crammed in a phone booth, planking, guys putting on make-up, taking pictures with Korean babies, and dogs, and in trees, and proposing to strangers, singing on the subway... we definitely lived up to our foreign status. But we also had fun. I, for one, definitely saw some brighter smiles on people's faces. It's fun to see other people clearly having fun.

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Halloween came and went and now I am sad. It is by far my favorite holiday and Korea just doesn't celebrate it like they should. There are no trick-or-treaters. No dressing up for work. No scary movies. No copious amounts of candy. No decorations. There are the generic money makers that some shops are trying to profit from but it is still such a novelty here. I watch shows from back home and they are all doing their halloween specials, I see pictures from friends, and it makes me miss being in the US. I am going to have a lot of halloween mischief to make up for when I finally go home. I did try and brighten my kids holiday though. I put up some paper decorations and handed out candy to any student who said trick-or-treat.

I can't change the lesson plans for my daily classes but my after school day care class I have free reign so they have been having Halloween lessons all month. They will be glad when we go back to normal I think. There are only so many days of monsters and jack-o-lanterns before these kids will break. I wish I could have shown them Hocus Pocus or The Nightmare Before Christmas but alas their level of English is just not good enough, and they really can't keep up with subtitles well enough to watch either of those movies. I, at least, was able to watch Hocus Pocus. All is well in the world.

Instead of dressing up and walking the streets in search of candy I spent my Halloween hiking to a sky park to revel in the fall colors with half of my fellow teachers, my vice principal, and principal. It was a beautiful, albeit, very long walk. Instead of walking basically straight up the stairs, we went around this long road that had a pretty steep incline. I don't know which would have been better honestly. But when we finally reached the park it was worth the walk. This island is right next to the Han River. It used to be a land fill. Back in 1976 (or 1978, can't remember now) they decided to clean it up. It took fifteen years but they were finally able to clear out all the garbage, plant the grass and vegetation, build all the buildings, create wind and refuse burning energy sources, and add the sculptures but the end result is marvelous. Once we got to the top we stayed for a bit and just sat and enjoyed the wonderful weather. Then we all went to dinner. It was very nice spending time with my fellow teachers, even if communicating is still such an issue. A lot of my fellow teachers are pretty good at English but it is still a challenge. And my Korean is just not very good at all. I can understand more now but it is still abmissmal.

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This is the bottom of the hill.

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This is the top entrance.

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This is the house that told the story of the transformation from landfill to beautiful park.

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There was a point where you could write down a wish or prayer and tie it to this stone for good luck. That one in the middle is mine.

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These brush looking plants covered the top of the hill. They were super pretty, amazingly soft, and sounded amazing when the wind blew through them.

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The trees are amazing.

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And the view... wow I could go up to that park everyday if it weren't for that hike.. whew.

OH I also went and stalked Tom Hiddleston when he came to Korea to promote Thor: The Dark World.

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It's a blurry picture but I love it.

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And a not so blurry one.

That was pretty amazing. I went with two great friends, KP and MM, and it was a great thing I did because without them I would not have had such amazing memories to accompany the night. To top off the pictures, I got to see Tom Hiddleston dance to Get Lucky and sing Man in the Mirror. Talk about *swoon*. I of course had to see Thor: The Dark World in 4DX and it was amazing. There really is no other way to see a movie. I am going to be quite sad when I no longer have that option. The rest of the world really needs to get their act together when it comes to 4DX movies. Like, every movie theater needs them, seriously... get on that people.

I will be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again this year. I am excited. I did it in 2011 but I skipped last year because moving to another country and starting to teach was too much to deal with without adding the stress of writing a novel in a month. This year I have no excuses. I am actually prepping right now by writing in this blog. Go me. Now if only I can keep the self-control needed to stick to a schedule and write everyday. I hope it won't be terribly difficult. It helps that I've gotten back into a reading mood. Although I am currently reading two different books (and waiting on a third to be delivered) so it might actually hinder my writing to be in a reading mood...

Alas the only way to know is to do.

I shall hopefully be posting more frequently this month since I am trying to hardest to write something everyday.

Until the next time!

Posted by cstravelsabroad 06:45 Archived in South Korea Tagged friends adventures seasons teaching

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