My whole life my summers in Minnesota have consisted of going to my cabin on the weekends, spending time swimming in the lake, fishing on the boat or lounging in the sun near the water. It’s my first summer ever away from Minnesota so it’s been quite different. I have really been enjoying summer here in Gwangju and truly taking advantage of all the nice weather. I started running again which has felt really great. Claire and I have been running around the track at the two universities near our apartments. We also play frisbee and ultimate Frisbee with friends when we can which has been a blast. We are literally the only girls who are playing sports or exercising anywhere around us. In 10 months living here I have seen 1 girl run around the track with her boyfriend and my friends and I literally clapped because we were so impressed and excited. Haha
I also hiked last week and went to the peak of Mudeungsan (Mudeung Mountain). Claire went with me and we hiked just over 6 miles. We sat at the top of the peak on huge boulders of rocks and ate our bananas, apples, and crackers and enjoyed the beautiful views. It felt unreal to be nature and smell the fresh air and see all of the green. Truly one of my favorite things ever. The hike was a tough one for me. My body was tired but when you get to the top it becomes all worth it and you’re reminded how strong your body can be. I will add photos later!
The heat here is also something I am not used too. The humidity is really, really warm. By August it will be around 95 with 99% humidity on any average day. Yayyy! Thankfully I got the “magic straight” hair done so my hair doesn’t get frizzy like it used too! Best decision ever! I think we also feel the heat more because we walk and take buses everywhere. My school finally turned the AC on last week for the first time. The real feel temp everyday has been around 94 degrees but thankfully we have fans in the classrooms which helps. The schools are also able to open all windows in the classroom and windows going into the hallway so we have a lot more air flowing through the classroom, which helps when it’s so warm and the AC isn’t on yet. But the students come in from recess dripping sweat haha “Ahhh teacher so hot!!!!” And all the students carry around cute little hand fans so I always walk around and take their fans and pretend to fan myself then fan them for a second here and there. They always laugh at it.
I’ve enjoyed my summer here in Gwangju. It’s been different but I am trying to take full advantage and enjoy it!
And here’s the most exciting news of all…I will fly home in ONE MONTH…yes ONE MONTH…to visit my family and friends!!! And I couldn’t be more excited!!! I cannot wait to go home and see my family and friends and be in Minnesota for 2 weeks!! I am getting more and more excited as the days are getting closer and now I’m counting down. I can’t believe I have been in Korea for almost 1 year already! It’s crazy to think about and I’m really excited to be able to fly home and visit my family before I started a second year here!
Some things I am looking forward to:
- Spending time with my whole family
- Sleepovers with my nephew and meeting my niece in person for the first time ❤
- Seeing my dog Copper who is now 15
- Spending time with my friends who live in MN
- Ordering food on the phone or internet with no problems whatsoever (there is no way to order food on the phone here unless you are fluent in Korean. And Korea uses Internet Explorer here for everything including to order food and I have an I-phone and Macbook Air so I can’t order food online either)
- Walking into any and all stores and making small talk with whoever I want too
- My cabin and bonfires and eating smores and sitting on the dock and watching the sunset and taking saunas and breathing really, really clean air
- The smell of my parent’s house. Always fresh and clean with a disctinct wonderful smell.
- Any and all homemade food that my family makes. Especially steak (steak is insanely expensive in Korea) and my mom’s homemade salads and grilled food and pretty much all American and Mexican food
- Non-humid weather…I will never complain about humidity in Minnesota again
- Non-evil mosquitos in Minnesota…compared to Korean mosquitos… I will also never complain about mosquitos in Minnesota ever again. There are 3 kinds of mosquitos in Korea..and they are the worst. The Worst.
- Shoe shopping and being able to find my size anywhere
- Walking…running…skipping…doing anything outside without being stared at.
- Getting my hair done from someone who speaks English
- Seeing lakes everywhere
- Driving and cruising with the windows down with English music turned up loud
- Speaking fast English and talking “normal” again (Although I don’t think it’s possible at this point) Since I am constantly speaking with Koreans and students I have learned to pronounce every single word clearly and speak very slowly. My English has become pretty bad now, which is funny since I’m an English teacher. I speak so slowly now and use the most simple sentences. So maybe after being home for 2 weeks I will be back to my fast, normal speed of talking!
I can’t wait for all of these things. But most importantly I am excited to spend time with my family and close friends and enjoy a couple weeks at home. I know it will be really, really hard to leave again but I am very happy where I am at in Korea. I love my job and my life here and for right now it’s where I’m meant to be. But I CANNOT wait to be home.
Counting down the days,