Thursday, November 05, 2009

November, Already?

Just a little fall update for all my dedicated readers:

On Fall in Seoul:

It's finally fall in Seoul, it is only about 6 weeks late, but it is finally here. Sometimes I'm convinced that we only have 2 seasons here: summer and winter. It seems that it stays warm for a very long time and then it just immediately gets cold and vice versus. The trees are finally turning colors and the leaves are slowly making their way to the side walk. Unlike in the states, the leaves are only on the streets for a small amount of time. Almost daily I see lines of women sweeping the leaves on the sidewalks into piles and disposing of them immediately. One great thing about fall though is that Seoul turns into this beautiful array of colors. Every tree turns bright orange or bright red. It makes for many amazing photo opportunities, and a nice view from my office at work or from the luxury of my own apartment. Those in warm climates now, be jealous!

Just this past weekend, my friend Jennifer and I were eating Italian food for dinner. We were sitting in this restaurant on the second floor and the windows were opened. I took a deep breath and breathed in this smell of a camp fire. Immediately I had flashbacks from childhood and life in America and it left a warm feeling in both of our hearts. It's nice to see and smell familiar things, especially when you live 7,000+ miles away from home. With the changing of the weather brings about lots of fun activities. Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. I am always excited to take out scarves, sweaters, and jackets and put away the shorts and t-shirts. Maybe I'm a little more excited this year since I have lived in an apartment where I couldn't control the air conditioning and it was shut off before I would return home from work, but I'm not complaining as I do live in a nice apartment that is RENT free.

Oot and Aboot:

I have been taking advantage of my weekends lately. They have been filled with delicious food, hiking, movies, and friends. Last weekend I finally got around to seeing the Time Traveler's Wife- as it finally came to Seoul. Recently I've also been going to a lot of arcades. OK, you might have read that and said, "WHAT A DORK!" --- yes, I already know I am a huge dork, it's fine :)

In Korea, arcades and game rooms are really popular. My friend Jen and I realized that arcades are a great way to relieve the stress from the work week. We found this Japanese drumming game called "taiko drumming master" last weekend. After about 10 dollars in quarters and 2 hours of our Saturday night, we put the drumming sticks down to prevent further blisters from forming on our fingers. But wow, I felt awesome afterwards :) Last Friday was also Halloween. Most Koreans do not celebrate Halloween, but since I work at a school that teaches and promotes North American education, we did celebrate. All the teachers came up with their own activity to have in their classroom, and classes rotated to each activity in 15 minute intervals. Aside from the classroom activities, our directors put together a Haunted Cave- it was actually a really neat idea. Before entering the cave, the students went into a room where they watched a short video. Batman appears on the screen to tell the children about the mission they are about to embark on. The students find out that the evil villain has taken Robin, and Batman needs their help to find him. Batman thinks that Robin is lost in the haunted cave, and the students are responsible to find clues to help Batman. I think the concept was terrific, and aside from it being a bit spooky, the kids LOVED it. I dressed up as the Cat in the Hat, and it was a hit! If you want to see pictures check out facebook-- if you're not facebook- I'll send you some! Just ask!

Two weeks ago, I did a little hiking to see the beginning of the fall foliage. I used to do a lot of hiking when I first came to Korea, but I have definitely been lazy this year. We ventured about an hour north of Seoul to tackle Mt. Bukhansan (the tallest mountain in Seoul, but not nearly the tallest mountain in all of Korea) -- only standing at 985 meters it was a strenuous hike with a nice pay off at the end. The view of Seoul and the beauty of the trees made the 3 hour hike up well worth it. The

On the Future:

With my teaching contract coming down the final few months, and my contract ending on February 28th. I had to start asking myself- what I am going to do? When I first came back to Korea I started to apply for jobs in the US. I thought that I had a good idea that I wanted to work at a University. My master's degree coupled with the experience I have abroad would make me a good candidate for a job in Study Abroad/ International Student office. I applied for about ten jobs, before I finally heard back from one. The one generic email informed me that I was part of the candidate pool of 500. And that they would select roughly 25 percent for phone interview, and then select 3-4 to interview on campus. "Wow, wonderful chances I thought to myself".

Recently I decided to explore some other options. As some of you already know, I recently applied for a job in Seattle, Washington. My company here in Seoul, is opening up a full research and development office in Seattle starting in March. They are looking to hire roughly 3-4 experienced teachers to move from Seoul to Seattle to set up shop in WA and to serve as R&D supervisors. About 3 weeks ago I was informed of the opportunity and told that I would be a suitable candidate. After thinking about the job for a bit, I decided to apply. I figured the fact that I have little "managerial" experience would hinder my chances. Luckily, my resume and essay proved that I had the skills and potential. After corresponding back and forth, I was assigned a project to work on. After completing the project successfully, I was invited to interview with the Chief Curriculum Advisor of our company. Last night I had the interview and it went very well. I should known in 2-3 weeks whether or not they are going to offer the position to me. If I don't get it, I have to know that there was someone out there that was more experienced or better for that job. I know deep down that I did my absolute best, and I look forward to positive feedback. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me! I do, however, hope that you all would come visit out in Seattle if I did get the chance to move there. It'd be wonderful to see familiar faces in my potential new home.

On Trips and Fun:

Christmas is just around the corner, and that means one thing to me: VACATION. Instead of visiting the beaches of South East Asia like I have in the past, I'm headed back to Europe. It's been a few years since I've been to Europe, so I'm happy to go back. While it'll be cold, I'll have good food, friends, and beer to keep me content! I'm flying to Amsterdam, Netherlands directly from Seoul on December 25th. After spending 3 days in Amsterdam, we'll be taking a bullet train to Paris-- where we'll be for 4 nights. We'll be spending New Years hopefully drinking champagne and seeing a cabaret show. After Paris we're heading by train to Koln, Germany. I'll hopefully be meeting up with my friend Laura (who I met on a habitat for humanity trip in Louisiana). After Koln, we're off to Brussels, Belgium for an afternoon before heading back to Amsterdam.

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