Gagye Beach

Panorama of Gagye Beach

One of the more shallow reasons that I chose this particular job at this particular location is the proximity to beaches that it offered.  Being an island, Jindo has 3 or 4 beaches, two of which are relatively nice.  The neighboring county of Wando, about an hour and a half away, has the best beaches, but Jindo’s are more than adequate, especially for someone who grew up swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, there aren’t too many buses a day to my favourite of them, Gagye Beach, but it’s relatively easy to get there on the weekend, and if I really need to get out and go swim, I can take a taxi there for about $10.  Considering that I’ve seen beach fees that high in the US, I don’t cringe too much.

I’ve been to Gagye three times now, and the waves have ranged from relatively standard beach waves to almost none at all.  The water isn’t clear like the Caribbean or anything, but it’s clearer than the Gulf and the parts of the north Atlantic that I have been able to swim in.  The water, when the light hits it, is relatively blue, though up close it’s kind of a greenish-brown.  I’d say it’s probably most similar to the beaches I have visited in North Carolina.

Students from Jindo and the surrounding areas (some come from as far away as Mokpo, an hour away) come to the beach for various sports games and competitions, and there have been groups there each of the three times I have been there.  The students tend to mob me, as I’m not only an unfamiliar foreigner, but I’m also a chance for them to practice their English.  Sometimes their constant giggling gets on my nerves, but for the most part I find it more charming than obnoxious.

The first two times I went to Gagye, I went on the weekend.  However, last week I ended up being let off work around 1pm.  Since it had been a relatively stressful day, I decided to use the time to go to the beach.  There was a girls high school there, having boat races between the shore and one of the islands not far away.  I got some good photos which I will post later.  It was a good way to spend my afternoon, and made me feel less in a “why am I here/why did I do this?” mood and more in a “I just worked one hour and am now at the beach, on salary.  I have an awesome job.”.  Sometimes I do feel like Korea was a mistake, and so when I feel like that, I try to see the positives in my job that many people would love to have, and it makes me feel a little bit better.  In reality, I have quite a nice job.  I earn about $2700 a month essentially tax free, I have full benefits, I have a furnished apartment and free meals at the school, I live on a beautiful (if smelly and dirty) island in the Pacific, I work somewhere between 3-6 hours a day, and when I finish a class, my students bow to me and thank me for teaching them.  Not a bad gig, all things considered.

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July 2008

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