Friday, August 25, 2006

Pre-Blogger email: Summer English camp and Cycling around Namhae Island

I have been a little busy lately.

We finished Summer Camp a week ago. Summer English Camp is an intense immersive english program that runs for 4 weeks between the semesters. The kids on the camp ranged in age from early elementary school to university students. However, there are no high-school students apparently because they are all studying during the semester break for their university entrance exams.

I got up every weekday at 6:45 and quickly got ready for morning exercise. Morning exercise for middle school and university was held in the sports stadium every morning. In the last week I led it and I had made up my own routine of exercises to put the kids through.

Classes started at 9am every day and finished at 8pm. I have to say though that there were many fun classes and other activities squashed into the schedule, like sports time and snack shop time. Three times a week there was a science class and once a week there was a movie which all the students watched together in the auditorium.

After 8pm I would have to prepare stuff for the following day, photocopy stuff and plan lessons or activities. I think I was usually getting about 5 or six hours sleep per night.

On Saturdays we had to test our classes in the morning and then there would be skits and some other stuff in the afternoon.

The camp was great fun but a lot of work. I got paid pretty well for it but you really earn the money.

The other thing I have been doing is cycling. Yesterday I got back from a big cycling tour of Namhae island which is just off the South coast. I bought a bike on Monday and we left early Tuesday. My legs are still sore and my knee hurts a bit. But the scenery was beautiful and you see so much from a bike that would be lost if you were driving. Obviously, you can also get to places on a bike that you cannot get to in a car. Another benefit of traveling by bike is that you are moving slowly enough that people can talk to you or you can meet people easier.

I was walking my bike up a hill yesterday. This truck slowed down behind me somewhere and this guy got out and caught up to me and started talking to me. He'd just finished cleaning his father's gravesite. Apparently he wanted to go to university this year but there was some problem and now he's studying hard to get in for next year. We walked to the very small town just around the corner and he insisted on buying us drinks. We sat down inside a covered watermill monument which was nice and cool compared to the humid hotness outside. We were the first foreigners he had seen in his town. We talked for a while and then his brother and cousin's on turned up on their bikes. They cycled with us as we rode off again.

We saw a lot of the countryside and I got to practice my Korean a lot.

The weather here is currently quite hot and very humid. It can be very unpleasant for any kind of outdoor sports. I'm pretty good. Now I have a week to relax and catch up on thins before he new semester starts. I have been spending (relatively) a lot of time with a Canadian girl I met. I actually met here a while ago and then lately we have been seeing each other. It's good. But she is going back to Canada at he end of next month. Damn. The timing is terrible.

While I have some free time I will try to write to people and make some phone calls. But my time has a way of quickly disappearing in this place.

Well, that's me for now. I don't feel great right now and I think that that is reflected in this article. I just need to relax for a while and eat well.

Bye for now


PS – here are some pictures from the cycling tour.

[Click on the images may result in an enlargement pop-up, or not]

Day 1: By the dock, before the bridge crossing.

Crossing the bridge from the mainland to Namhae Island.

I don't know what that thing is but it's cool.

A love hotel of prodigious proportions.

"Garlic Land of Treasure". That's what the sign says.

For the love of large stone monuments to garlic...!

Finally, a dream realised. The biggest garlic research institute in the world with an impressive range of garlic-related paraphenalia inside on two levels. Possibly the highlight of any journey to Namhae Island.

Incredibly, we met this guy in a tiny village (more like a hamlet) whose best friend was in my class at Gyeongsang University.

There was some awesome scenery to behold on our way around the island.

A statue stands watch over a gravesite situated on the side of a hill overlooking the coastal road and the bay below.


Richie said...

Ado - I love the garlic land of treasure and I have to go there!
I especially like the way that in that photo of the research institute with the BIG garlic there is a smaller, cartoon-figure holding a garlic on the right;
kinda like, "here is our impressive garlic research; and here is us making it accessible for kids." Fantastic!

Adrian Brown said...

Kids need to be eating more garlic. And beans. And seaweed.

Jackie Champion said...

Hello there! I am glad to stop by your site and know more about summer camps. Keep it up! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about summer camps in your area.
Some camps, such as CTY and Duke TIP, are focused primarily on education or on educational-related activities, such as debate, history, or journalism. These camps are often run by colleges or universities, and are usually for children in junior or senior high school. Educational summer camps are different than summer schools as the summer camps often are not offered for school credit, and often have a significant focus on non-academic activities. Students for these programs are often invited or recruited. Many of these camps, such as Canada/USA Mathcamp and SSP, focus on a specific subject, such as mathematics or astronomy. These camps tend to have selective application processes involving problem solving or an essay about the applicant's interest in the subject.
We specially designed a week-long experience to introduce kids to the basics of light, color, lenses, and mirrors through fun, hands-on activities.

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