After completing one year of teaching English in South Korea back in May, I returned to England for the summer in order to visit friends and family and indulge myself in some of the home comforts I had missed so dearly during my 12 months in East Asia. My girlfriend, Kendra, visited from her homeland of Ontario, Canada for a few weeks at the beginning of summer and then returned to her job, leaving us with a long 3-months of being apart.
My summer was excellent. I worked a job at the Town Hall that I was surprised to find out that I enjoyed, caught up with all my friends and family that I love so much - including my beautiful new-born niece, Lilia - and ate so many sausages, packs of bacon and portions of fish and chips that I gained an unknown amount of weight and a giant gut. However, being seperated from Kendra was painful and we always intended on returning to Korea, together, for work. And so here it is that I find myself, almost 4 months to the day since I left the country, back in South Korea and ready to resume my role as Andrew Smith: English Teacher.
Things will be slightly different this time around, however. Whereas last year we both worked in private academies (hagwons), this year we will be teaching in the public school system for SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education). And, as opposed to the small towns we lived in last year (Yangsan and Geoje, respectively), this time we have taken positions in the capital city, Seoul. The final difference is that, rather than the free, one bedroom studio apartments that we lived in last year, we have taken the option of a housing allowance and used this to rent a 3-bedroom apartment together. These 3 things should make for a rather different experience this year than the one we had previously.
I decided to start this blog for myself as much as anything, so that I can keep a record of the things that I get up to and look back on it in the future. I will also, undoubtedly, use it to get up on my soap box about whatever issues I feel strongly about at the time, and to make ill-informed rants about the state of the world. I hope if you read this you will join in and make comments. I expect about 4 people to actually read it (and I probably share a surname with 3 of them) but if you do read, please take the time to leave feedback.
Anyway, 'bye for now. And, as I will try to do with each post of this blog, I leave you with a tune.
Love, Smithy x