Travel Blog #3 – A Wonderful School

Yeongsanpo Girls Middle School.

In a previous blog, I briefly mentioned how extremely alien this school was to me.

It still is.

However, I am starting to settle in and learning how to teach and have fun with the students and the same time. Now, over a month and a half, it seems I am learning how to fill the outrageously large shoes of my predecessor. The fun piles on, while the work diminishes. A lot has happened since then, so where to start?

Well, for starters, the lunch here is phenomenal. Variety, taste and Nutrition, It has it all! There is always a healthy helping of vegetables, followed by a meat, rice and soup that never repeats itself within the month! (a little cookie and cream ice cream that you squirt into your mouth also helps give this a step in the right direction =D ).

2014-05-22 11.57.02If you think that is impressive, how about the school? Well manicured lawns, Spotless hallways, and sweet offices and classrooms. Take a deep breath, and let it all in, because that’s what I do everyday.

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But that’s enough admiration. Let’s move on to Sports Day. I am not sure about other schools, but at my school, the enthusiasm rivals that of pop concerts. Kids designed their own class uniforms, frantically beating together a pair of thunder sticks, all the while shouting in plastic cones and putting impressive dents into handheld gongs. Trust me when I say that THIS, was a lot to take in. Their competitive spirit was even greater, demonstrating speed, endurance, and determination I didn’t know was capable within their dainty little selves. All I can really say is that I am beyond impressed.

IMG_4304IMG_4767IMG_4542IMG_4780IMG_5003IMG_4817IMG_4939IMG_4535Lastly, the one certainty of South Korea is not the spiciness of food, nor the obsession of looking immaculate…well it is these things as well (students in my school who are nearsighted will avoid wearing glasses just to look cuter). However, the constant I’m referring to is the weekly volleyball match touted for its skill, spirit and serious matches. Luckily, after watching a video and googling “how to play volleyball”, I came out half decent. It definitely earned me brownie points with the other teachers!

After reading all of this, you may think I am in a fortunate situation. Well…that’s because I am, and I am thankful everyday for such a wonderful opportunity. As David Steindl-Rast says: “We all know people who have lots of misfortunes that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy, they radiate happiness. Why are they like this? Because they are grateful. It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

Until next time,

Richard T.

Trainee Polymath

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