People who aren’t teachers or who are jealous of their time off always say, “but you get summers off”. If you are a teacher, or already appreciate teachers, skip to the next paragraph. True, part of the draw to teaching is the extended vacation where we live off of our savings. Back home I made roughly 30,000USD. Divide that by 10 months and you have 3,000USD/month. Split that into 4 weeks and you have 750USD/ week, which split again by 5 leaves 150USD/day. Contractually I had to work 8 hours however with about one hour given for planning and grading and about 3 hours of actual work to do per day, outside of teaching, we could say I did about 10 hours per day. so my hourly wage and a second year teacher; 15USD per day. After 5 years in the profession my experience has been that teaching is not a low intensity, mind numbing, solitary profession. It requires creativity and hype maintained over long periods of time and that takes a toll.
After two years I knew I wanted a change, maybe not a total change but something to make my days more memorable so I moved to Spain. That same year I realized I had had too many birthdays that were not too memorable. That summer I came up with anew tradition… is that possible… anyhow, I would from then on venture to new places each year, never celebrating my birthday in the same place twice.
Originally I had hoped to mark the day in a new country each year however last year that fell apart but I accepted that as long as it was a new city or region, something out of my routine then it was OK. this plan works in many parts of the world because of teachers being given two months of summer vacation.
My 26th birthday I celebrated in Warsaw, Poland eating some new things with a friend I met while traveling in Japan the year before and a friend from my University.
My 27th birthday was the cherry on top of the Peru trip with my friend from Warsaw. After her and I parted ways i headed to Quito, Ecuador to meet a good friend and her boyfriend.
My 28th birthday was spent in Madison, Wisconsin with my friend Amanda, who I met in Spain.
This year, if you have read any of my previous post or if you know me personally, would know that i am living and teaching in South Korea. The academic schedule here is much different than the other places i have worked. This means that school is still in session for about 2 more weeks and then following that I am obligated to teach summer camps.
If you read my last post about sick days or my post about vacation days you might know that I couldn’t use any vacation time or sick time for my birthday, this year. I tried to make the best of my birthday weekend.
Friday night Ji and I went to see the Banpo Bridge fountain show. From what I read it is the longest bridge fountain, sucking up a few tons of water per minute while shooting it back out in a show somewhat choreographed with lights.
From there we walked a few minutes to a set of three floating islands. there was an exposition of paper mache dolls in one of them. the sculptures were incredible. The details in the figures faces captured such precise emotions.
Then on Saturday I went to a cafe because the weather has gotten so hot and humid that staying home is not pleasant since we don’t have an air conditioner. While at the Cafe Ji called out the design of my blog and suggested it was time for a revamp. She was right. What a difference! I couldn’t stay long to work on my blog though so I would have to finish later because I was supposed to meet with some people from the Seoulighters photography group. The weather radar showed a typhoon heading towards us but said the rain wouldn’t start up for a few more hours.
The reason the meet was organized was to say bye to the organizer since he will be heading back to the USA with his wife after 8 years in Seoul. I had only met him one other time back on the Kbloggers tour of Namhansanseong. He is hoping to make contacts with some traditional galleries with the thought being to put travel photographers in contact with the curators since what we see daily may actually be very foreign to most people back home.
Today, Sunday, has been pretty laid back, just working on the blog some. Editing some pictures. updating my Flickr with some newly developed film pictures. Then we went to have dinner at Times Square, a huge mall, seems like everyone had the same idea since it was raining and no one wanted to be outdoors.
Tomorrow my mind will be off in some foreign country exploring while I wrangle small children and sit bored at my desk for several hours, planning. Could be worse of course but I certainly cant wait for my upcoming trip to the Philippines.