Settling into Spring

12 May

It is a foggy Sunday morning here in English Village.  This week has continued to be the typical atypical shenanigans of life and work in English Village (EV).  Monday 500 adolescent Korean students arrived.  We danced the “EV mambo” with them for three days (a unique combination of moves including language and cooking lessons, badminton, soccer and rides on the EV railbike), then they left and a new group arrived.

The visiting schools this past week were filled with the general array of bright faces and unexpected challenges.  First there was the girl who, when I opened the room up for questions raised her hand and asked me if I thought I was pretty and then later asked me for my “autograph”.  Later in the week there was the class of 17 boys who for the first hour wouldn’t listen to anything I asked them to do and talked to each other throughout the whole lesson.  As I had these boys for three consecutive hours of lessons, they challenged me to regroup, adjust the planned lesson, and begin the next two hours reviewing good classroom behavior.  I pulled out some classroom discipline tricks I had seen another teacher use, reminiscent of those from my own middle school teacher.  In the end, they left for lunch quiet and orderly and even picked up the trash on the floor before leaving.  Hooray!  and … Whew!….

As the weekend continues, I am doing my best to soak up the luxury of a quiet weekend day before Monday makes her way back around.  Saturday I took the familiar journey into Seoul.  I had scheduled a chiropractor appointment to tend to my injured left ankle still hurting from a fall down some stairs in France over a year ago.  The chiropractor, who is Korean, spoke excellent English from his studies and work in the States. By the end of my appointment I couldn’t have been happier.  I now can see clearly how my ankle is not properly aligned, my foot turning slightly in to the right, which is why I still have pain.  After one appointment that was just a little painful, it already looks better.  He was also able to give me some good information about my painful back, spine and neck.  He took one look at my neck and asked me if I slept on my stomach… which I do.  He told me that I needed to sleep on my back… so I am now in the process of learning to sleep on my back.  First night… not too bad, but it will take some getting used to!

In the afternoon I met with my SGI Buddhist group.  We had a study group meeting in the home of one of the members.  We read and discussed the writings of Nicheren, the Japanese Buddhist monk who is the founder of the practice.  The more I explore this Buddhism, the more I enjoy it.  It’s general message of perseverance and happiness in the midst of all challenges and situations is very compelling to me.  It’s also been great to know and be connected to the other Buddhist members in the area and feel a sense of community here in S. Korea.

This coming week I will be a little off of my familiar track as I am scheduled to teach Korean college students visiting for the week.  So it looks like this week I will dance a new dance with a different beat and a more mature students body.

Spring continues to settle in with temperatures lately topping off at around 70 degrees farenheit.  It is a deep relief to walk outside and feel a gentle warmth after months of a startling winter.  I took a few photos from a walk in the hills of English Village one night after work.  Also, here are some photos of the neighboring agriculture.  This used to look like an abandoned lot and is now fastidiously developing into a proper garden.

All is well on this side of the earth.  How about you?  How are things in your world?  It’s always great to hear from you!

Photo at top a view from “behind the scenes” of the English Village “hollywood-esque” sign nestled in the hills of Paju City, South Korea.

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