Monday, September 5, 2011


   Hi all,

    I have been in Naju now for about 2 weeks and I am slowly building a life here.  Naju is a small city by Korean standards (around 100,000 people).  It is famous for its delicious pears (they actually are great).  Jeallonamdo, the province that Naju is located in, is generally known for having the best food in Korea.  I have made day trips to Gwangju and Mokpo, nearby cities in order to see friends, and a weekend trip to Daejeon, one of the largest cities in Korea (North of Naju).
Downtown Naju
   The high school I work at, Geumseong High School, is an all boys school.  I teach a variety of ability levels, which is challenging right now, but I am starting to get better at lesson planning and addressing this challenge.  As is to be expected from an all boys high school, there is plenty of testosterone and silly antics on a daily basis.  For example, on my first day I was playing 2 Truths and a Lie with my students, in order to get to know them.  One student's lie was that he had chest hair.  When the rest of the class did not believe him, he started to take his shirt off.  I convinced him to keep his shirt on and then got the class to keep on track.  Throughout the year, I will be teaching my students a mix of both English Grammar and American culture.  So far, we have focused on Comparatives and Superlatives, Commands, and American music.  I have found it interesting to see what they know about the United States and do not know.  For example, my students are familiar with Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce yet, they had never heard of Destiny's Child, Madonna, or U2.  Tomorrow, we will talk about Country music and I am pretty positive that they will know who Taylor Swift is but, be unfamiliar with Johnny Cash.
    So far, my homestay has been great.  They are very considerate an caring but also give me my space at the same time.  We live in a house which my homestay dad built about 2 years ago.  It is mostly made out of recycle materials.  He works for the local government in the Agriculture Department.  My host mom just took a civil service exam.  I think she hopes to be an archaeologist for the government, but I am not completely sure.  So far, we have bonded over action movies, Korean tv dramas, and playing with my host sister.  I have a 4 year old Korean host sister who is definitely the boss of the house.  She is very cute but, also, quite intense.  Nearly every morning, I wake up to her screaming for one reason or another (really not that bad since I get plenty of sleep).

My homestay
   My host family has also taken an interest in food from the West, particularly Mexican food.  When night, my host dad insisted that I make tortillas (he really mean burrito/taco).  We were at the supermarket and I was looking for beef or chicken.  We ended up leaving with bulgogi (spicy Korean meat) and ended up with bulgogi burritos (pretty good although next time I need to introduce them to guacamole).  I will be traveling with my host family for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) this weekend.  More updates to come soon.

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