Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Second First Day of School

At 8:00 this morning, in front of the Lotteria, a fast food place (one of the few landmarks that I can pronounce in Korean), I was picked up by a nice guy who was triple parked a block down the street. He introduced himself as the PE teacher at Jisepo Middle School, where I will be teaching on Tuesdays during my time in Korea. Jisepo is on the other side of Geoje Island from Seong Po Middle School and the city I live in, Gohyeon.

Quick geography lesson: Geoje Island is southwest of Pusan, the second largest city in Korea. The island is connected by bridge to the mainland on the west side. Seong Po Middle School, my MWF school is in the north, while Jisepo is in the east. Look at this map that I made from Google Earth.

So, I found myself riding in a sporty car as we wound our way through the twisty road that goes through the middle of the island and up and down the mountains. Though the mountains we were on were not that high, my ears did pop. If the ears pop, it is a mountain in my book. The school is slightly smaller than Seong Po and is situated among rice paddies and mountains on the southeast side of the island.

The first day was much the same as my first at Seong Po, sans the big assembly. I was introduced to all of the teachers en masse (all 12 of them). The principal is an older woman and her office looked eerily similar to the office of my principal at Seong Po. She has two desks in the back of the room, with windows behind her. The room is much longer than wide. Two coffee tables go down the middle of the room, with four square leather chairs on each side of the coffee tables. The arrangement looked very formal.

My classes went very well. I am beginning to get the hang of this ESL thing. The students were a bit shy, and I have a hard time understanding them sometimes, because many of the words they say in English, they are saying aloud for the first time. However, they are bright, and with few exceptions seem very eager to learn.

So tomorrow, it will be back to Seong Po and then Thursday, I'll have my third first day at Dongbu Middle School. Dongbu is located in the southern peninsula of the island.

P.S. A short Korean lesson: "Seong" means fortress and "Po" means port. So, Seong Po means "Fortress Port."


  1. Thanks for letting us tag along as you aquaint yourself with the Land of Morning Calm! Just a couple of food-obsessed questions for you:

    1.) As an increasingly experienced world traveler, which do you prefer for breakfast: (a) gimchi & fish soup, (b) half-pound balogna rolls & al dente green peas with a side of bliny (ala OSP'02), or (c) Lucky Charms?

    2.) When you finish learning Korean, could you tell us the difference between the Bulgalbi burger and the Bulgogi burger at Lotteria?

    Hope you don't have any more guerilla learning assaults at Seong Po today.

  2. Sorry, Mr. Friel, but apparently I don't know how to spell "acquaint."


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