Posts Tagged 'jindo'

Freedom

My bike, at the top of one of the nearby “hills” at sunset:

stuff-6

One of the major advantages of having my “scootercycle” (as I call it, as it’s 100cc) is that I can drive around the island to get my photos pretty easily.  I have a tendency to just wander around on the little one-lane roads that form a spiderweb between the rice paddies and meander up the mountains.  I like the freedom of being able to stop at a crossroads and think “Hm… I wonder what’s up over on the other side of that hill…” and then actually go and find out.  My sense of personal freedom is very important to me, and I think I would have gone a little crazy by this point if I didn’t have my bike, and the ability to just “go” that it provides and represents.  I have lived in cities, and I have lived in the countryside, and I prefer the countryside, but what I did not initially take into account in my choice of Jindo as my location here in Korea was transportation.  When I have lived in rural areas in the past, I have always had my own car.  Here, the beauty in the surrounding countryside that I saw from the windows of buses was tempting me, but I couldn’t explore.  Thankfully, someone informed me that for $400, I could own one of the little motorcycles/scooters that all the farmers ride here.  It’s a bit of a POS, but it has taken quite a beating from me and it still runs quite well, considering.  The important thing, though, is that it’s mine, and it allows me to see what’s over the next hill, around the next turn, or at the end of the road.  If only it were so easy to do that with your life, eh?

*shiver*

Know how I keep mentioning that despite the fact that it’s not really much colder here than Massachusetts is, that it feels MUCH colder?

Well, I finally found a weather forecast for Jindo, and now I know I’m not just being wimpy.

  • Actual Temperature (as of right now, 6pm):  24˚F (-4˚C)
  • “Real Feel” Temperature:  -4˚F (-20˚C)

It’s the same temperature now that it was when I drove to work this morning.  Yes, I drove my motorcycle, for 20 minutes, in a perceived temperature of -4 (-20C), and that’s WITHOUT the windchill of being on a motorcycle at 45mph (70kmh).

This country is officially cold, and I am officially nuts.

By the time I go out to dinner tonight, the predicted temp is 8˚F (-13˚C), with a “real feel” of -22˚F (-30˚C).

The up-side is that if I feel warm in my German WWII parka in this (which I do, with a sweater on underneath), I will be *fine* at the reenactment in Pennsylvania in February.

Hey, nice view…

There are definitely times when I really enjoy working out here in the countryside, “in the middle of nowhere”.  This was taken not 10 feet from my school’s front gate, and the others are from the snow we got yesterday.

snowday-1-5

The Human Popsicle

Oh my god. That was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life, I think.

I drove my motorcycle to school in this:

snowday-2

(that’s actually yesterday’s snow, but today was the same, possibly even harder) 

My WWII German parka got its trial-by-fire, and by the time I got to school, the formerly gray parka was completely white in front. Snow was plastered to my entire front, and I had to wipe off the front of my facemask every 5 seconds. I wish I had a photo, I must have looked hilarious.

In my defense, it wasn’t snowing until about 5 minutes into my 20 minute drive, so I had no idea.  I would not normally drive a bike in conditions like that.

Even wearing two pair of dense wool socks as gloves while I was driving, my fingertips still hurt, after 10 minutes in a heated room.

Here’s a video of the snow.  It’s choppy, but you’ll get a basic idea:

Two things…

For now, just a photo:

 

 

By the way, I have a “general life” blog up these days, which you can find at this link.

“My Dog”

So, yesterday when I took “my dog” (she still lacks a name) for a walk, I decided to take some photos.  So, here you go.  By the way, if you have any name suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Update

Things have finally settled into a rut here, I think.  Not a bad rut, just sort of a pattern.  Two new teachers arrived a couple weeks ago, and between them they took over 4 of the schools I was previously working at (two schools I disliked, and two schools I liked, so it balanced out).  So, I’m now working at only 3 schools, which makes things far more enjoyable.  I am finally able to do lesson plans that can have multiple parts, something that was impossible when I was only seeing each class once every 2 weeks.  Now I visit two of my schools twice a week, and one of them once a week.  One of the schools lets me out after lunch, as I have no afternoon classes, and so that makes a huge difference in how I feel.  One of the things I tend to detest is being made to do useless things, and one of my schools makes me sit at my desk until exactly 5 no matter what, even if all the other teachers have gone home.  It frustrates me to no end, though I know that they are fully in their rights to do it, as per my contract.  In general though, things have greatly improved.  For awhile there, I was seriously considering bailing, but due to these recent changes and the plummeting of the US economy, I will be sticking around.

I am also now back in my old apartment building in a vastly improved apartment, now that it has been renovated.  I wish they had replaced the kitchen, and the heater doesn’t seem as good at heating my water as at the old place, but I am not about to complain.  I visit the dog I have “adopted” a few days a week, and it really does wonders for my mood.  I’ve started taking her for walks in the surrounding countryside, which she absolutely loves.  She spends her life on a 6 or 7 foot chain, and so being able to run around (her “leash” is about a 25 foot rope I bought) is clearly the highlight of her week.

In the last two or three weeks, the foreigner population of Jindo has risen from 5 to 9, an incredibly high number for somewhere this rural.  Sadly, one of them has her last day this Friday, and she was the main social organizer, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that.

I have withdrawn a bit recently, as well.  Now that I actually enjoy being in my apartment, I have been spending significantly more time here.  I used to go out with folks not only to socialize, but because I couldn’t stand being in my smelly, moldy apartment.  Now that it is actually pleasant to be here, I have been sticking around here far more, except to go for my walks and countryside drives.  I’m not lonely or anything, I just tend to sometimes go through phases where I don’t really enjoy the company of others, and I think this is just one of them.

I’m a bit sick.  Okay, a little more than a bit, but still well enough to work.  I could use one of my 6 remaining sick days on Monday, but unless I feel worse, I don’t think I will.  I figure that if I go into work when I’m at less than 100%, next time I take a sick day, they might take me a little more seriously.  Then again, maybe not.

So, anyway.  There will probably be more positive posts around here than there previously have been.  I think I have passed the “I hate Korea” stage and entered the “Meh.  It’s funny.” stage.


December 2019
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