오월 | May Monthly Report
With the end of May coming, I now have less than one month left of my time in Korea, but I have been determined to make the most of the time remaining. This month I was fortunate to go on quite a few wonderful trips along with enjoying some wonderful events at my school.
At the start of this month, I was able to take a week off of school to go to Seoul with the German Exchange Student, Arne. Our major goal for the visit was to do some shopping for music, movies, and books to bring back with us to our own countries. We also wanted to see a few things in Seoul that we had not gotten the chance to see yet. During the week there, we stayed with Arne’s Host sister 송이 (Song-i).
While in Seoul, I bought some movies and music that I plan on sharing with friends in the US, along with a couple of books for studying Korean. More important to me though, is that I was able to try out some new experiences. The one the stands out in my mind most from the trip is a “Dr. Fish Massage”, which I was able to try at a café we went to. For this spa treatment, I had to put my feet into a special type of fish tank that was shaped like a trough. In the tank, the fish inside would eat the dead skin cells off of my feet. It took a while for me to do so, but eventually, I was able to hold my feet under the water while all the fish’s mouths surrounded them. It was a very strange experience, but something that I want to try again, as I ran out of time shortly after being able to hold my feet in.
I also went to see two shows while I was in Seoul. The first of these was NANTA, which is considered to be one of the most famous theater shows of Korea. This show was a percussion-based music show that revolved around a kitchen preparing food for a wedding. The performance was done in a style that could be easily understood by foreigners, with very little dialogue, and instead relied more on body language to provide comedy and show the storyline. The other show that we saw was a concert that 송이 performed in, playing the piano. She is a professional pianist, so it was a really great performance. We also were able to see her a couple of times playing piano in business and hotel lobbies before we met up to do things.
The next major trip that I went on was for two days the following week with my school. For this trip, we went first to 해남 (Haenam) in the Southwest of Korea, where we went to see a few historical places and learn about some important people in Korean history. This part of the trip was not as exciting for me, as I sadly wasn’t able to understand much of the importance of the things that we saw. The part of the trip that I enjoyed more though, was the next day when we went on the long hike up 월출산 (Wolchulsan Mountain). This is the largest mountain that I have been able to climb here, and I was thankful for the chance to experience it. It was a very difficult hike and I really enjoyed the workout, but the reward of reaching the top of the mountain was wonderful.
Later in the month, I went on another short trip with my school to the nearby city of 전주 (Jeonju). For this day trip, we first went skating at an indoor skating rink. I really enjoyed getting the chance to go skating again while I have been here, as it really reminds me a lot of home. Unfortunately, the skates that they gave me didn’t fit correctly, so I ended up getting a blister on my foot, which was rather painful. While in Jeonju, we also visited a portrait museum, which was a palace-like complex dedicated to housing portraits of some of the kings from one of the early kingdoms of Korea that had this area as its capital.
The following weekend, my host family brought me on a short trip to the other side of Gunsan, where there is 새만금 (Saemangeum Seawall), which is the World’s largest seawall. With this seawall project, they are planning to reclaim land from the Yellow Sea, to create a city between Gunsan and Buan. This area is noted for its beauty, so it was interesting to see, and I was happy to share the experience with my host family.
At the end of this month, we also had the official opening ceremony for the dormitory that was built this year. So, during the final couple of weeks, we did a lot of cleaning around the school, as the province’s educational officials would be visiting for the ceremony. This ceremony thus was quite a large production, and I was given two major things to do for it: the exchange students were required to sing a song, along with many of the Korean students, which began the ceremony; and I also gave a speech. For the speech, I was chosen among the exchange students to give my three-minute Korean speech that I had done for my English Class.
This month, we also saw two of the exchange students’ departures. Both of the Mexican students had to go back. It was a strange experience to see them heading off, but I hope to see them again someday. It definitely has opened my eyes to the small amount of time that I have left though. As of the time that I am preparing this report, I have only seventeen days left until I leave Korea on June 20th. That’s just a little over two weeks, but I still have more great things that I will be experiencing here before I go.
Posted on June 3, 2012, in During Exchange and tagged Dormitory, Exchange Students, Gunsan, Haenam, Host Family, Jeonju, Korea, Korean, Korean School, Korean school life, Language, May, Monthly Report, Nanta, Opening Ceremony, Rotary Youth Exchange, Saemangeum, Saemangeum Seawall, School Festival, Seawall, Seoul, South Korea, Speech, Study Abroad, Travel, Trip, Trips, Wolchulsan. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.