been a long, long, time. A long
time coming. But I know a change
gonna come." Sam Cooke
I have survived 7 1/2 months in Korea
and all I can say, "What a difference
a day makes." Life has shown
its real face, to me, these past four
months. Since the last excerpt,
I have seen a lot of people, come and
go at my work place. It has been
a revolving door, literally. Either
administration has problems with employees
or vice versa, usually the latter.
I take this experience in stride.
At this moment, I rather not relinquish
any names, but upon my return, I will
tell all. I will say this; Korea
is vicious when it comes to office gossip
and backbiting. I have not encountered
any type of professionalism in the workplace
since I have been here. So, I just
take the good over the bad and move on.
generally find outlets to relieve stress
and the children always brighten my day.
I currently teach eight kindergarten
classes (American Daycare/Childcare).
It has been such a wonderful experience
thus far. The youngest child is
3 yrs old (American) and the oldest being
6 yrs old. My three-year-old student
speaks English very well, in addition
to Korean. She is so cute. Every morning,
when I arrive to school, the children
greet me with big hugs. It is truly
a blessing because my day can be stressful,
but they have a way to make me feel good.
At first, I was scared to teach
very young children. I did not
think I could handle the task, but over
the past several months, I have grown
to love this new responsibility. I look
at it as a stepping-stone in my life as
I begin to settle down and establish my
life. It has reassured me that when I
decide to have children, I am more than
capable of handling the task.
eyes on me..." Tupac
over the past few months, I have made
an effort to visit the spa/sauna.
Now a Korean spa is not a traditional
western spa, except for the sauna.
First, it is only $4.00 - $10.00 USD.
It consists of alkaline or herbal
hot tubs, a sauna, a cold tub with high-pressure
jet sprays and a cleansing area.
Now all spa's are gender based and completely
nude (no exceptions), except for a few
high priced facilities that cater more
to the western world. Those facilities
have a coed spa area, but you have to
wear bathing suits. Also, there
is not a time limit to the hot tubs or
herbal baths. Korea is also famous
for its numerous hot springs.
first experience I had was hilarious,
but rejuvenating. I went to a famous
Hot Springs called Asan Spavis.
It has the traditional Korean spa and
the Western style spa combined.
It cost a lot more to use the western
style, so I settled for the Korean.
I was like a speck of chocolate in a sea
of whole milk. Now, I'm quite used
to people in Korea giving me stares, but
these women and small children probably
never encountered a black person, let
alone in the nude. They were examining
me, up and down. At first, it was
a bit uncomfortable, but once I got in
the water, they all seemed to disappear.
I never forget the lavender fragrance
permeating my nose. It was so relaxing,
and I overcame my biggest fear, security.
I felt so secure, that I stayed
for three hours. I would frequently
have Korean women come talk to me and
make numerous inquiries. Mostly,
since they never had spoken to an African-American,
in addition to test their English speaking
skills with me. I always entertain
their questions and they help me have
a comfortable and rejuvenating experience.
my first visit to the hot springs and
spa, I have made it my duty to go at least
twice a month. I have immersed
myself in this popular Korean custom,
and become relaxed with it.
reasons. The reasons that where
here. The reasons that this feeling
really won't disappear.."Earth, Wind,
as I conclude this experience, I am presented
again with my purpose. I am also
presented with the reasons of being here
in Korea, and its preparation for my return
back to the States. This experience
has been challenging, but necessary.
It made me redefine who I am, and what
I stand for. In addition to making
me address things that I thought, I would
never encounter in my entire life, and
to re-evaluate the people I surround myself.
I have laughed and cried many of
nights, but I realized that this moment,
right know is my structured path.
Only the Creator knows where I will be
in the next couple of years, let alone
the next couple of months. I will
just stay focus, maintain professionalism
and integrity, teach the children, and
finally, continue to grow.
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