4 May

A few weeks have slipped by since my last blog entry.  In the space of my own busyness, Spring has arrived at Paju City South Korea.  While I was lost in the world of teaching, the blossoms were busy exploding on the trees and the sun busy shining.  There is still a slight chill in the air, but the temperature finally leans more towards warm than cold.  I have even gone outside without wearing a coat!  Truly amazing as I was beginning to think that my skin was the texture and color of a dark blue down coat.  Alas, it is not and I am at last thawing out.

I continue to do the dance of English teacher at English Village.  It is a different dance each day.  Some days look a little more elegant than others!  We are fully immersed in our current “semester” welcoming a new group of about 300 Korean students usually every three days, Monday through Friday.  Wednesdays are a bit of a juggling day – one group leaves around lunch time while the other group arrives late morning.

The staff of teachers at English Village continue to face the blessings and the challenges of our current teaching conditions.  In the past few months we have shifted from teaching one group of kids for 5 days (Monday through Friday) to teaching two different groups of students for three days, twice a week.  We are learning that many of our students are coming here with the expectation of a fun field trip and not to study and practice English.  Additionally, lately many more of our students speak very little English.  As an organization that is committed to teaching English in English, this presents opportunities as well as challenges.  Adjustments are often needed to the level of lessons but communicating effectively with students is not always possible.

All that said, being here and teaching English at English Village is a wonderful education.  Each days calls me to be the best teacher I can be, to stretch and explore my sense of compassion for students (and myself), and to continue to learn to set clear boundaries in classrooms of middle school students who are at English Village just “passing through”.  In the midst of this fun and lively, but at times challenging environment,  I am in some ways invigorated and inspired by the challenge.

A few weeks ago I was speaking with a friend and leader in the Seoul foreigners chapter of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist group I belong to, about my week… it’s challenges that were demanding that I rise up and be very deliberate about bringing kindness and compassion in the midst of challenging situations.  Her response was, “Honey, that’s human revolution!”  Human Revolution is a term that SGI often refers to when talking about personal development, growth and happiness.  SGI says “Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity.” As a fairly new member to the organization I am still exploring experientially what its different terms and concepts actually mean.  As for human revolution, I am beginning to get it!

It’s Saturday and I am doing my best to rest-up and prepare myself for the new week to come.  My weekends seem to have a fairly regular syncopation as of late… one day spent recovering and cleaning up from the week and preparing a little for the week to come.  The next day usually spent in Seoul connecting with an SGI activity and friends and often sharing a meal and a little social time.

The biggest news in Paju for now is the arrival of Spring.  It’s amazing what a difference it makes to see the surrounding hills covered with green and blossoms bursting off of neighboring trees.  I must admit I was harboring complaints about the late arrival of Spring… however my family in the Kansas City area of Kansas and Missouri actually got snow over the past few days.  That makes Paju seem like a tropical paradise!

Spring has invited more leisurely strolls and exploration around the surrounding streets and hills.  On my way to the grocery store this morning I saw three hard-working Korean men and women transforming what looked almost like an abandon lot into a field for planting.  It was quite amazing to see them working so patiently, pulling out rocks and debris slowly generating a metamorphosis into neat hills and rows.

As the day begins to wind down, I am grateful for a few more hours of sunlight today before I settle in to the evening.  It’s been a quiet but sunny and productive day.  I am wondering, how is Spring blossoming in your life?  It’s always good to hear from you!

One Response to “Blossoming”

  1. bwbears 05/04/2013 at 09:55 #

    Beautiful shots.

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