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Jo's Korean and Other Crazy Adventures Jo is coming back to teach in China for a second year that is sure to be filled with new crazy adventures!

The Last Four Months Condensed

SOUTH KOREA | Sunday, 6 January 2013 | Views [542]

Where did 2012 go? I can't believe we are already in 2013. I have been the worst person for not writing about my adventures in the last four months. I had a rough start getting sick the first few months or more. I thought I would never get better. I ended up going to the hospital to get a battery of tests to find out why I was always getting such bad heartburn. I felt like I was going to die many times over the last year or so, but it had just gotten out of control. I figured it was GERD, because I've had the same problem for years, but never got it looked at.

It was an adventure in itself just going to the hospital nearest me. I live in a suburb and no one spoke much English at the hospital, so my coteacher came with me and translated everything for me and them. I was a bit fearful because I was having all these tests done and was hoping they didn`t find anything serious. I was having visions of them finding cancer or the worst possible scenario. I was thinking I may have to go back to Canada if it is anything serious. Again, my mind went to the worst possible case.  My insurance covers basics, but not any long term hospital stay or surgeries.

Thankfully, after an ultrasound, EKG, and an endoscopy (which I was put to sleep for, thank god!), they didn`t find anything overly serious. I had to be put on pills for acid reflux and gastritis which was a huge wakeup call for me. Even though I had been working out and watching my diet somewhat for a few years or more prior to this, I still knew I had a lot of work to do.  Since I`ve been following the doctors orders for the  most part, and taking my pill regulary -  I have felt great. I haven`t had any attacks and I`ve felt back to normal for the last two and half months.

I joined a few photo clubs and have been meeting up with people mostly in Busan to take photos. I did a photo shoot of a Korean woman and learned a lot of things about my camera from them. I also went with the same group to an orphanage at Christmas to take portraits of the children. I had a great time and the drive to get to the orphanage was amazing. I got a ride to the orphanage with Keith a fellow photographer.  The orphanage is on an island off of a bridge near Busan station. The scenery was spectacular and I got to see a lot of Busan I have never seen before. Busan is so mountainous with so many bridges. I have grown to be very fond of Busan over the past four months because I visit at least once every second weekend. The day at the orphanage was so fun and rewarding. The children were so excited to get presents and I got to capture their smiles on camera.

I had one day off for Christmas this year and I ended up going to Busan for the day with my Korean friend who works with me. She has been teaching me Korean once a week since September. She has been a good friend and her English is excellent. We ate Indian food at `Namaste`restaurant and went for some drinks afterwards. We are hoping that she will become my new co-teacher in March as she has applied for the position. Silgies chances are good that she`ll get the position because she has more experience at the school compared to the others that have applied. I`d love to work with her for six months. I will definitely miss my current co-teacher who I teach grade five with. She is so laid back and easygoing. Things won`t be the same without Jesse, but I hope to see her for coffee outside of school as she lives in Busan.

School has been very good overall this semester. I had a few ups and downs with one of my co-teachers, but we talked it out and I really hope we can work together next semester. We both are hard workers and want the best for the students`. Sometimes she wants it done her way only and sometimes I think I`ll do it her way just to appease her. After trying to get her to see my side, with not much success. I know that I do not want her on my bad side as she is my main co-teacher. She has been a great help since I arrived at my school. I have more leeway with my other co-teachers and I like how I can teach what I want, and how I want to teach. Better yet, is that I don`t have to follow the book. I use the themes of each chapter and develop my own powerpoints, games and lessons based on the theme.

I have yet to decide if I am going to stay another year at my school. I don`t have to let them know for another month or so. I probably won`t know till the last minute. There are definitely pros and cons to working and living where I am. I may have to decide that answer when the times comes. I have thought about going to teach in Thailand, but I may wait another year. I haven`t saved half as much money as I have hoped to so far.

I went to Seoul last weekend and I hadn`t been there in over two months. I got to see some friends and enjoyed seeing Sooyeon, Dan and the baby. The baby is almost crawling now and she is so adorable. She knew me and took to me right away. I bought her a few presents and she was so happy. I hope to go back at the end of February. I really enjoyed being back in Seoul in some respects, but not so much in others.

After living in such a quiet and idyllic place for four months, I was a bit shocked to come into Seoul Station where it was so overcrowded (mostly because it was New Years), and snowing like crazy. People were lined up wall to wall to get on the escalator to get down onto the subway. The people were lined up to get in a taxi and it was generally insane. I really enjoyed spending a bit of time with my friend in Itaewon. One thing I like about Itaewon is the various choices of food. I had chicken kebobs at my favorite Turkish restaurant and later that night had Mexican food. The food is the best for variety in Itaewon (being the foreigner area).

I was happy to leave Seoul after three days just to get away from the crowds. I don`t think I would go back to live there. I like that I can take the KTX speed train and be there in two and a half hours (50,000 won one way). I ended up in Busan for New Years and loved that I could go from one end of the country to the other in less than three hours. The speed train really rocks here in Korea!

So that takes me into a new year of 2013. New year and new possibilities abound. I am heading to Thailand this month to vacation for two weeks. I haven`t been to Thailand in over four years and I am so excited to go back. I hope to write about my experience and write more often from now on. Till then.. Happy New Year to all my readers!

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