Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything here which isn't very good now, is it? I'll just choonfully briefly bring you up-to-date on what we've been up to...
Work is going ok. Kendra seems to be finding her feet a bit more and, although she still finds it difficult with her less-than-enthusiastic students, and staff who think it appropriate to communicate only in hand gestures (a half-hearted salute on his entry and exit into the room), she comes home from work with a smile on her face more often than not which can only be a good thing. My work is plodding along. I'm beginning to build up relationships with a few kids as I begin to recognise their faces - as with last year I am more drawn to the cheeky ones and find them much more fun to teach. I have had a couple of small issues to do with money and with one co-teacher in particular who has been far from helpful - to be honest these issues didn't seem too small at the time - but I believe they are being sorted now and I should have the money that I'm owed within days. Or else I'm going to start throwing things at people.
We have taken as many opportunities as possible to get out and explore Seoul - starting from the touristy areas outwards. We went to Insa-dong with it's endless streets selling tradtitional Korean tat, we strolled through the department stores of Jongno-dong and the designer shops of Akpujeong. We also found a nice little park not far from our place in Yongsan-dong where we enjoyed the end-of-summer sunshine one Saturday afternoon. This really is a fantastic city.
For me, the most exciting thing that I've done since I last posted here is that I joined an expat football team, Seoul United FC, who play in the Seoul Sunday Football League. I was incredibly nervous before my first game as I hadn't played 11-a-side football for a good few years, but those nerves were eased slightly when I learnt that our opponents would be a Japanese team who were bottom of the league and who only had 10 players for the first half hour of the game. Anyway, I made a good account of myself - scoring the first goal and setting up a few others - and was asked to join the team for the rest of the season. It's going to be really good getting into the competitive spirit again and I can't wait for the games ahead. We had a friendly the other day and I managed to get on the scoresheet again from right-back so, fingers crossed, I can keep that going!
We have also signed up for Korean lessons every weekend, as both of us are a trifle embarrassed about our Korean ability after each living here for over a year. They will take place for 3 hours every Saturday and aren't exactly cheap, but it will make a huge difference being able to communicate properly with the locals, not to mention being quite interesting and giving us something productive to do with our time off. It will also be good to get back into studying mode because.....
We're going back to Uni next year. Well, Kendra is and I almost definitely am. This will be our last year teaching ESL after which we will both spend a year training before starting our careers. Kendra will do her teacher training which will give her a qualification allowing her to teach both in Britain and Canada (handy, given our little arrangement) and I will (fingers crossed) be doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism. Obviously nothing is set in stone, and the fact that I want this so much will probably allow sod's law to intervene and deny me my opportunity, but I'm going to do everything in my power to get accepted and then find the relevant funding to do it. Writing is the only thing I love doing (besides playing football and, when FC Seoul inevitably come knocking after my goal-to-game ratio becomes too impressive to ignore, I will have some serious decisons to make) so I've decided to stop saying, 'Well, I'd love to be a writer', and just go ahead and fucking be a writer. Maybe I won't be a millionaire, but I think I'd be happy. More important, some might say.
Anyway, that's the happy-hap from Seoul. Get in touch, let me know what you're up to and please leave feedback! 'Cause I probably miss you.
Love, Smithy x