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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

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  • Some Korean "love"....

    So I promised two stories about events that made me like Korea again after a hard day at work. So without further adieu, here's the second story of something that made me fall in love with Korea.
    Some of you might remember how I just posted about how Seoul has been setting up their ice-skating rinks in different parts of the city this year. The only thing holding them back was something that you can't buy everywhere in Asia...a Zamboni. This past January they finally finished completing the ice-skating rink in
    Bundang, quite close to where I live. This was especially nice because as it was new, all the skates and blades were new, as opposed to the well-worn and dull skates found at the much more popular City Hall rink.
    So a good teaching friend of mine and I decided to go skating. She hadn't gone in, well, she couldn't remember the last time she had gone skating. We met at
    Seohyun station, and walked the short five minutes there. It was a beautiful night, cold, and a sprinkling of snow was falling - perfect for night skating. We got there early, and as they were cleaning off the ice, we thought it would be perfect it nobody else came - skating on an ice-rink in Korea is sometimes taking your own life into your hands...hundreds of people on one rink, with many of them not having the same advantage as North American people have makes for a lot of people skating out of control....
    As the Zamboni driver cleared off the rink, the snow started falling a little more and more, to the point that the Zamboni tried to keep up with it, but he couldn't. As he finished cleaning off the rink, he told the University student who does "crowd control" to tell the people that the rink was closed. So the student comes into the box where we were waiting, he tells us that the rink was closed. We were disappointed, but there wasn't anything we could do. However, as soon as the Zamboni driver sees us, he says to the student: "
    Foreigners?" (in Korean, of course). "Okay, no problem - let them skate, but only them" (again, in Korea - the Univ. student translated for us).
    So, much to our utter shock, we were allowed to skate on the rink as the Zamboni driver patched the holes on the outdoor rink. What further shocked us was that as multiple Korean families walked up to ask to go skating, they told them that the rink was "closed", even though we were clearly skating in circles, gleefully enjoying the wide open spaces. It was quite possibly one of the most fun times I'd had in a long time. Sure, the whole staff at the public rink thought that my friend and I were dating, to which we both had a good laugh about. We both enjoyed the skate so much that afterwords, we bought the whole staff a dozen donuts. When we handed it to the staff, the looks on their faces was one of utter shock - they all stood at the gate and waved at us as we walked away from the rink - it felt like a commercial - cheesy, but rather comical.
    So those are two stories which made me come to love Korea again. Sometimes, this country drives you nuts enough to wonder why in blazes your working here, as opposed to in some other country where you don't occasionally get treated like yesterday's leftover food. And then things like this happen, and I'm glad God has me here, and not anywhere else:)
    take care all,
    God bless

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