After a slew of posts on the Philippines, I am now back to Korea and what's going on here. There seems to be lots of things bubbling just below the surface. I just had an old friend from the UK visiting which was fantastic. Even though I have lived in Korea for 10 months there are still a handful of things on my list of places to see that I hadn't made it to yet. Places like the DMZ and N'Seoul Tower I still had not seen. So when Will was here we got to check them out. I will definitely write a post about the week he was here because we jammed packed it with fun stuff before I sent him off to Busan and Jeju.
Speaking of Jeju.... not to toot my own horn BUT, okay, I will. Since arriving in Korea, I have been part of "The Korea Blog". This means occasionally my blogs are featured on this website:
The Korea Blog is a project run by KOCIS, which is basically part of Korea's Ministry of Tourism. KOCIS sent out an email last week saying of their 50 or so bloggers, they have selected 5 within Korea and one outside of Korea. I was selected as one of their top bloggers (toot! toot!). They are sending the 6 of us on an all expenses paid trip to Jeju-do to thank us for doing a good job of writing about life in Korea.
Jeju is considered Korea's Hawaii. It is a southern island off the peninsula, and from what I hear it's a beautiful place, quite different from the rest of Korea. So on the morning of October 21st we fly from Seoul and head down to the island for the weekend. They have an itinerary planned out for us, and I assume it will be disclosed closer to our D-day. All I know is I get a fabulous and free mini-break! As part of the Welcoming Ceremony when I started blogging for KOCIS they took us to Cheung Wa Day, Korea's White House. It was during a school day and I was given permission to leave on a paid 'field trip'. My school was really honoured I was invited there and found it really special. Now for this, although I don't have official permission yet, my co-teacher did back flips when I told her. So I am pretty sure taking the Friday off work isn't going to be a problem.
Before I knew about the trip to Jeju with KOCIS, Garry and I were planning our own little mini break there. Chuseok (Korea's Thanksgiving) is coming up at the beginning of September. I get a 6 day holiday so we have been trying to organize trains and ferries and buses to get us there. So now, I have 2 amazing trips to Jeju-do in a short time spam. I am spoiled. I love Korea!
Next on the horizon is a visit from Mom. My Mom and I make great travel partners. Back from when I was younger we used to always go on marathon driving trips together. We've tag teamed the drive to NYC, and down to Maine, and we've driven through California together. My Mom and I did a road trip starting in Scotland, through Ireland and ending a few weeks later in Brighton, England, where I was living at the time. When I took a few months to backpack through Southeast Asia, my Mom was the first to volunteer to come see me. She arrived, backpack strapped on and met me in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. My Mom is who I inherited my travel bug from and I only hope I do it with the same spirit she does it with now when I grow up (hee, hee). So she has booked her trip to Seoul! In a few weeks time, my Mom shows up and I can't wait to show her the world that has been my home for the last 10 months.
Aside from all these fun events coming up, there is also change in the air. My work contract ends in 2 months time. I would have been more than happy to re-sign and stay on another year but unfortunately due to budget cuts they can't afford to keep me. After lots of thought and options and decision making, I think I have found the perfect job to transition to next. It is still teaching for Korea's Board of Education but it is not a full year contract. It is just temporary, and it's closer to Seoul. It is not secured 100%, and things change in Korea like the winds passing through, so I am not banking on it quite yet. But in the next few weeks everything should unfold nicely. Until then I am just going to sit back and enjoy what life has to offer for me here in Korea.