Here Comes the Sun

4 Aug

It’s a steamy Sunday afternoon at English Village in Paju, South Korea.  I am doing my best to soak up the last day of the weekend before it disappears and “poof” once again it’s Monday and we are back in full swing.

Last week was week one of our month-long special programming at English Village.  Overall I would say it went well.  We had elementary and middle-school students from Japan, Thailand, Russia, and South Korea.  The students seemed to meld well together and some seemed to easily make friends cross-culturally.  It was a hectic week filled with the typical array of unexpected challenges and “snaffoos”.  But all in all, I would call it a success!  And this week we do it again!  We have new students from the same regions  except for the Russian students who continue from last week for a two-week stay.  English Village will be busting at the seams this week and teachers, well, we will be teaching more than usual and likely a little… tired.

I think rainy season may have come to an end as the endless days of rain appear to have diminished.  While we are still getting rain we are also sometimes seeing… the sun. What a relief.  Of course, as forewarned, on the other side of the rainy season is the heat and humidity.  After 13 years living in the sweltering heat and humidity of New Orleans, I feel I can say with some authority that this past week a few days in Paju have been officially hot.  Even on hot days, thankfully, there is often the benefit of a restoring cool wind.

It’s been a typical weekend for me with my continued effort to take it slow and restore myself while preparing for the week to come.   On Saturday I made my regular trip into Seoul.  I went by Hongdae, an area of Seoul, and grabbed some tacos at my favorite taco stand, Gusto Taco.  As usual they were hopping.  Their Hongdae location is intimate and frienlys, but with just enough room for a few folks  to grab a seat.  On my visit yesterday, as there was “no room at the inn” to sit down and enjoy my tacos,I placed my order and then went to the coffee shop next door.  The coffee shop owner is a very hospitable Korean woman who welcomed me to enjoy my tacos there on the condition that I purchased a drink from her.

As I don’t consume sugar or caffeine and she didn’t sell bottled water, this wasn’t an easy feat.  She didn’t speak great English and I don’t speak Korean, so it was a bit of an adventure communicating.  While I have not yet learned Korea, I have improved my speaking of English to people who don’t speak much English.  With some simple sentences, some accentuated gesturing and pointing, we were soon on the same page and I had ordered myself a drink.  No sugar added (and no caffeine!)

This wasn’t just any drink!  It was a kiwi smoothie made of fresh kiwi, seltzer water, some ice and that’s it.  Then purreed to perfection and voila.  A beautiful drink for me.  I was so impressed by its beauty and thick straw.  I had to take a picture of it.  In truth it was so lovely that it made my tacos look ugly.  But I enjoyed them all just the same as I sat in the air conditioned simplicity of her coffee shop.  The guys at the taco stand even delivered my tacos there to me when they were ready.  Fabulous indeed.

I spent my afternoon today at Lotte Outlet Mall just up the street in Paju.  It is colossus. I made the venture with a basic mission in mind – a hair cut.  Several teachers had recommended a place and a stylist to get a hair cut there so I took a leap and off I went.  After a bit of a wait, a little shopping, it was my turn for a cut.

Did I mention I got it cut short?  As I sat there and watched my locks of hair fall to the ground I slowly began the transition of adjustment. The poor stylist was a great guy, but because of language barriers we weren’t able to communicate that well with each other.  As he saw my “I am adjusting to this hair cut – not so sure about it yet” face,  i tried to convince him that it was okay.  In the end, I liked it but… was still adjusting.  I payed my extraordinarily reasonable price for the cut, style and pampering and I was on my way.

Before I headed home I picked up a little take-out, a rare luxury, from an American style restaurant at the mall and happily headed home.  A great way to complete the weekend.

How has your week been?  How did you spend your weekend?  As always, it’s great to hear from you!

Photo at top from a morning walk in English Village.  It was a quiet Saturday morning before the “kids were up”.

2 Responses to “Here Comes the Sun”

  1. bill biver 08/04/2013 at 18:38 #

    send a pic please, of the short hair pls. Love Dad

  2. Teresa 08/06/2013 at 06:41 #

    I have to write that my declaring here comes the sun was premature. Still rain. Much rain!

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