My work was nice enough to write an article about me for the weekly newsletter. Tomorrow is my last day here, and I have 4 days to pack my bags, party my pants off, fly home, visit family and farewell my life in New Zealand.
KIMCHI IN BUAN-GUN ANYONE?
This Friday, Anna bids farewell to start a new adventure - teaching English school children in rural Korea. Anna and her partner Tom accepted the positions a few weeks ago, and fly out of the country next week: “It’s been a real whirlwind” says Anna “I still can’t believe we are going!”
Anna has always wanted to teach, and experience life in another country, and Korea was the perfect choice as it offers great packages to help meet their English teacher requirements. The offer includes flights and accommodation for the year of their contract - a western style two bedroom apartment. This is a real bonus, and means no “key deposit” – a mandatory non-refundable financial “gift” to the landlord often required in Japan and Korea. They will also have a co-teacher on hand to help navigate the classroom full of small children who don’t speak a word of English (yet!)
Unable to take most of her worldly possessions with her, Anna has been a regular on Trade Me, even parting with her beloved lamp: “It’s probably one of my only possessions that has survived the journey through the many, many many flats I have lived in Wellington”. Fortunately, after a careful vetting process, the perfect owner was found for the lamp and updates on how it is getting on are being provided on a regular basis.
Anna and Tom will be living Buan-gun in the region of Jeollabuk-do in South-West Korea. The couple were initially unsure about teaching in such a remote area – with only a few other westerners in the region - but decided to take the plunge, hoping it will provide a more authentic experience than a larger city… and crossing their fingers that there will be internet access.
Despite extensive research, finding out information about the region has been somewhat tricky, with it going by several different names - and having a somewhat sparse Wikipedia page. Fortunately for future travellers Anna plans to remedy this with a blog about life in the region… but for now it all adds to the sense of adventure (and terror!).
One thing the couple do know is that English speakers and reading material will be few and far between, and both have stocked up on books and DVDs in preparation. However Anna is slightly less prepared for the food. “There are a number of dog farms in the area and ‘kimchi’ or fermented cabbage is a popular local food… I miss my jaffas already!”
I loved that freakin' lamp. It was just a bendy-necked halogen floor lamp but it was the only piece of furniture to survive moving through the 8 flats I have lived in during the past 6 years in Wellington. When it sold, the new buyer (a godfearing retiree from Waikanae) called me to arrange picking it up. I was drunk and emotional, at a farewell party for a friend and I waxed lyrical for half an hour to this woman, telling her how much I loved the lamp, and how I was going to miss it. At one point, I begged her to let me keep it for a few more weeks, and she obliged. When it finally reached her, she sent me an email to tell me that it was okay, and she used it every day and loved it as much as I did. When I found some spare bulbs whilst cleaning out my old room, I posted them to her. It felt right.