9 til 5, Student travels, and LCFC’s ‘man’ in the Far East

My posts have been less frequent of late, largely because nothing overtly interesting has been happening in our lives (asides from being kept busy working). After over ten months and an entire academic year (I can’t believe how the time has flown), we have a daily routine that doesn’t change all that much.

Things that were once odd, bizarre and different are now entirely normal and acceptable. Going to work everyday is just like any other job.

We have adapted to our surroundings and daily routine, just like every other Jack, Dick and Harry. It consists of work, gym, dinner, DVD on the laptop, sleep. 5 days a week. Not that different from those of you at home. In fact, it could be argued that the only difference in our working life to those of you at home is our surroundings and the language spoken (and the food – we mustn’t forget the food). Having said that, my application of the Korean language remains terrible so it could be argued that the language isn’t all that different as I am still only able to communicate in English!

Same old Hwacheon

We finally got round to booking our summer holiday. To say we’re desperate for it would be an understatement. It’s been a long, long semester.

We’re going to Cambodia for two weeks. We’ve been in countdown mode ever since we booked it.

Although I’m counting down the days, it’s been a satisfying few months. My first few months here were a bit of a ‘doss’. As you may be aware (if you’ve been following this long) I had a whole 10 hours a week with the students, and spent the rest of my 40 hour week surfing the internet. At the start of this new academic year in March, the winds of change reverberated around school. My co-teachers changed, and suddenly I found myself with a proper job to do with actual responsibilities and tasks to perform.

I’m grateful for my relatively easy first few months. Having it stress-free and an ‘easy ride’ certainly aided the transition into life over here, and allowed me to enjoy it more thoroughly. I wasn’t thrown into the deep end as a novice teacher with zero experience. I know plenty of people who were. I was one of the lucky ones.

At the same time though, I don’t miss coming home from work and wondering what an earth I had done with my day, and what the point was of me even going to work. This happened a lot in my first few months, but not since March. The job remains far from difficult, but job satisfaction has increased endlessly. I get a real buzz from seeing the kids faces light up with laughter, watching them learn and grow. I just wish I could communicate with them better. Overall, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot more since March than I had in the previous 6 months. I’ve no doubt a great deal more will be learnt in the upcoming academic year.

The first few months at Gandong were pretty easy

Three of my favourite high school 3rd Grade boys came to see me today. They told me that a long-held dream of theirs is to travel. They made a pact three years ago that they would travel to another country when they finished high school before going to college. It turns out they’ve been saving ever since, and they graduate this winter. I was quite touched, and pleasantly surprised. I don’t think this is particularly common amongst Korean students, particularly in Hwacheon. Nonetheless I am absolutely delighted for them and I really hope they have a fantastic time. Although I must profess I’m a little worried about them travelling alone.

Tae-Jun is going to Peru (He loves history, and it’s always been his dream to visit Machu Pichu)

Ji-Hun is planning on going to England, France and Germany. I’ve offered to help him buy football tickets.

Ki-U wants to go to Japan. His mother’s a little worried due to the ongoing nuclear issue, but I’m hopeful she’ll allow it. So long as he stays away from Sendai and Fukushima I’m sure he’ll be fine.

I read an interesting article this week. In a survey of Korean secondary and high school age students, it was found that twice as many considered Japan in fact to be a greater enemy to South Korea than North Korea. The United States of America was ranked a close 3rd. This despite the US being responsible for protecting South Korea since 1950. Personally, I can’t see the logic. Thankfully it’s just a survey of schoolkids and one can only hope that when they grow up they’ll see sense.

Is Japan a bigger threat than North Korea?

In other news, we didn’t get tickets to any of the athletics for London 2012 (just like everybody else). We’re going to see a Gymnastics final and the womans football final. We’ve not done badly and it’ll still be awesome to even be in London at that time. Although I am a little miffed as to how the Libyan Olympic Committee (Gadaffis cronies) and Sepp Blatter and his corrupt pals at FIFA are being given the 5-star treatment whilst hundreds of thousands of hard-working British people have missed out entirely. Demand was always going to exceed supply, so it was always going to be a matter of luck but I don’t think the aforementioned people are particularly worthy of our hospitality. Especially at the expense of the British people. Anyway, I’ve said my piece.

We’ve missed out on London 2012 athletics tickets but, it’s the IAAF World Championships in August, and guess where they are?

Korea, obviously.

We’ve bagged ourselves tickets to the opening ceremony and opening nights events + the entire next day of events (inc. the 100 metre final) for approximately £60. Not bad considering it’s the next biggest thing in Athletics to the Olympics. We’ll also get to see the exact same people who will be competing in London. Usain Bolt et al. The notable exception is Tyson Gay who sadly withdrew due to injury this week. You can’t have it all I guess. Regardless, we have a lot to look forward to.

We may get to see Usain Bolt after all...

For those of you not from Leicester, you may be interested to learn that I am now Leicester City’s correspondent in the Far East. Well not quite, but I can’t be far off. To view why, click here.

I especially enjoyed how my opinion was quoted as if I was an expert on the influence of English football in Asia, particularly Korea. I like to think I am, but in the grand scheme of things I’m probably not… I definitely wasn’t expecting my words to be printed word for word, but it made for a pleasant surprise and caused a few laughs.

That’s it for now.

Love to those of you at home. You’re never far from our thoughts.


4 thoughts on “9 til 5, Student travels, and LCFC’s ‘man’ in the Far East”

  1. A) it’s “tom, dick, and harry”
    B) hwacheon is so gorgeous and a little (very small miniscule even) piece of me will always be a bit jealous of you
    C) so cool about the games!
    D) you’ll def be a world-famous journalist soon. or leicester-famous, anyways.


  2. Nice I am glad to see that your making news where ever you are at. Now go out and get your butt kicked by those high school soccer girls again. 😀


  3. Hey Dan,

    I saw your name/link on a message you sent about getting a Myanmar visa while in Seoul. My girlfriend and I are planning a similar trip in late december and want to get our visa organized now but haven’t had much luck with the embassy. Just curious if you got any response from the guy about which travel agent he used or if you’ve had any more luck with the embassy. If you’ve got any info, I’d appreciate it if you could shoot it over to me.

    Thanks and good luck getting your visa,



    1. Hey Jeremy,

      I apologise for taking so long to reply. I totally forgot. You may have already found out, but the Myanmar Embassy phone number in Seoul is – 02 79038 1456. The lady was quite helpful in explaining the visa process. She said it was changing around about now, I don’t know how. However, she said we would need 2 passport photos, 1 passport, and it would cost 25,000 won. She said it should only take around a week. She also gave me the details of two tour companies in Seoul that may speak English and would be able to help foreigners obtain a tourist visa for Myanmar from Korea. They are;

      Tour Myanmar – 02 – 3210 – 5500

      Visacomm 02 – 7228 630

      She also said that you need to have made your flight reservations before applying for a visa. I hope this helps. I apologise for taking so long to reply.

      Good luck!



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