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A Year in South Korea/P.J. Sproule

Salmulnori and shorter hair

December 13, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

The first week of November was exam week for the third- year students at my school, so the exchange students spent the week in the school library. During this week, we also started to have more frequent Samulnori practices, as we had a concert coming up later on in the month. During the exam week, a group of people who were recruiting for a high school in Singapore came to our school. We used their visit as an opportunity to have a practice Samulnori performance.

During November, we had a ceramics class that was rather interesting, as the class was being filmed for some kind of documentary. Because of this, we made traditional cooking stoves. At the end, we got to eat food made with this traditional stove.

The next week, we found out that the school had gotten volunteers from the community who spoke English and wanted to help us learn Korean, so we now have Korean lessons in the morning of every school day, which has been rather nice. These new lessons are of a different format which helps, because we work on our own and ask questions when we have them.

On the second weekend, our Samulnori team went to Daejeon to perform at a Rotary Conference. We were not really given many details, so I had expected it to be a gathering of important Rotary people from our district we would start off the ceremony for. I was surprised when we got there and I found out that it was instead a conference for Rotary International's Rotaract and Interact clubs in our district. Because of this it meant that there were activities focused on these groups. The major part of the event was a talent show. The performances at this talent show were very good, but unfortunately, I had not brought a fully charged camera.

On the third weekend, we had Saturday school again, and this time we did volunteering. This time for volunteering, we went around and sorted out recyclable items from trash piles.

Afterwards, I went to see a movie with my host siblings, some of their friends, and the other exchange students. Although they had planned to see an English language movie so that I could understand, I told them that it did not matter,. We ended up going to see a Korean movie called "My Pet."

Because of the language barrier, I missed quite a bit of what happened, including some very crucial plot points. I was able to understand the main points of most scenes though, much more than I had thought I would understand.

Following the movie, we went to a Noraebang (Korean style of karaoke). Although I am surprised to hear myself say this, I have really been enjoying the karaoke here. I think that this is mainly because it is a more private experience where you are only performing in front of your friends.

The last week of the month, we also began a class to make hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing. We have not gotten very far yet, but I think it will be quite an interesting process to make them ourselves.

I also got my hair cut this month, my first haircut since getting here. With the language barrier, I ended up getting a bit more cut off than I planned, but it will grow back, so I am not worried.

I was also able to complete National Novel Writing Month for the second year in a row. This means I wrote 50,000 words of a novel on top of everything else I was doing.

It was quite an interesting extra experience and helped me to see just how important writing is to me, as I was able to fit this project into a busy schedule in another country.

This month, I stayed home most of the time instead of going on many trips.

As I became more familiar with my new environment, I have gotten to try new things while also seeing some new things.



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