Summer. #strawberry #drinks #summer #happyhour #dc  (at dc bread & brew)

Summer. #strawberry #drinks #summer #happyhour #dc (at dc bread & brew)

"In conclusion, to parents and teachers, vacation is time for students to play and rest. Think of our future. Do you think studying is the best way to make bright future of the country? I don’t think so. Experiencing something we don’t know is more important than learning new knowledge. You might say studying is what students have to do on their age but, reality is different. We think it’s time to change your mind. Think carefully."

— From an essay for the school newspaper by one of my second grade middle school students arguing for a longer summer vacation (this year they had two weeks of vacation).


The air conditioning finally kicked on in the classrooms!

Needless to say, the entire school erupted in cheers.


This is already a problem and it’s of course only going to get worse.

We have four fans in each classroom (all directed at the students and none at me of course) but when they’re on it’s so loud that I have to speak even louder than I usually do. If they’re off if gets so oppressively stuffy that nothing is going to get done.

It’s really hard especially since I teach middle school, where you have to be active and excited and engaging throughout class. I’m still working on perfecting the art of gesturing without lifting my arms too high lest my students notice the giant circles that always seem to appear under my arms.


As part of an energy-saving initiative, the Korean government/my school have decided that it is not necessary for my classroom to have air conditioning. Now, the no heat in winter thing wasn’t too bad, because I would just teach all day in my freezing room in my knee-length puffy down coat…


Saturday at the beach - took the train about an hour west to Daecheon Beach, famous for the giant Boryeong Mud Festival in the summer. Although the festival sounds potentially like fun (goofing around and getting plastered in skin-restorative mud) I have to admit that the idea of cramming onto a beach with hundreds of people does not sound appealing in the least. So I was pleasantly surprised when the beach was peaceful and not at all crowded.

Two friends and I basically spent the afternoon laying out in the sun (sunscreen was applied regularly, Dad), chatting and reading. And, of course, occasionally being distracted by adorable Korean toddlers’ reactions to the sand and water.

One thing I definitely noticed - unlike the gritty/rocky beaches I’m used to having grown up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, this beach seemed to be made mostly of crushed shells that would stick to anything and everything. You can see my blindingly pale leg covered in little shell bits. I seriously found some still stuck to the bottoms of my feet the next day.

Considering how close I am and that I have multiple friends who live even closer, I’ll have no excuse if I don’t manage to go back multiple more times this summer.