Seven days from now, I’ll be on a plane to South Korea. Don’t worry, I’m prepared: one of my students showed me some tae-kwon-do moves “just in case” because “everyone in Korea knows tae-kwon-do.” Mmmhmm. We’ll see.
Four days after that, I’ll be on a plane from South Korea to Japan (that should be an interesting flight…neither the country of origin nor the country of destination speak English as its first language. I hope I end up on the right plane. In the right country. On the right continent.).
Thirteen days following my arrival in Tokyo, I’ll be headed back to the good ol’ US of A to make sure that my house didn’t burn down and that Rex didn’t starve to death without my cooking (as some of the church ladies seem to think will happen. Clearly they haven’t had much of my cooking).
After six days of being home (four of which I’ll be teaching at a summer school/camp), I’m off again – this time to Washington D.C. (Hello, Mr. President. Not a fan of your healthcare system, but you have a really cute dog).
After three days of training in D.C., I’m hopping over the Atlantic in order to go to Germany. Guten Tag! (note to self: learn more German).
To say I have a busy summer planned seems like an understatement. A few people have mentioned the idea of blogging my adventures, so I figured why not? I love writing, and a few of you out there are nice enough to read what I write. I’ll plan to update as often as I have available wifi, so you’d make me extremely happy if you would click “follow” on this blog to get e-mail updates of my cultural learnings (spoiler alert: the post where I eat sushi is probably not going to go well. Seafood makes me want to puke. Also, I’m for sure going to offend someone with my use of chopsticks. Chopsticks apparently have a lot of rules). The follow button is probably in the bottom right corner of your screen right now. Go ahead. Click it. Make my face do this: 😀
To give you a bit of background about how this summer came about, I really have to start by talking about last summer. Last summer Rex and I both worked really hard. I had a summer teaching job plus two tutoring gigs on the side, and Rex was studying his butt off for his physical therapy board exams (which, thankfully, he passed). I decided back then that this summer would be different. I was going to do something fabulous. I even said to Rex last August: “You just wait and see. I’m not sure what yet, but next summer I’m doing something awesome.” The problem with “awesome” is that it usually carries quite a large price tag, so I decided I was going to find a way to do something fantastic that was also cheap. This led to me researching and subsequently applying for a handful of teacher travel grants. I was lucky enough to snag two of them: one to Japan and one to Germany, both with groups of other teachers from the US to study the education systems and cultures of these nations. (Side note: if you are a teacher and you want to travel for free, e-mail me or facebook me or something. I know a thing or two about travel grants after spending approximately one zillion hours working on them this year). When I received the grant to go to Japan, I inquired about how much it would cost to take a detour to South Korea. I have a family friend and a cousin who both teach there. Turns out it was only going to cost me around $100 to take that side trip before my program starts in Tokyo – yes please! So there you have it – the makings of my fabulous and practically free “world tour.”
I have a huge amount of respect for the education systems both in Asia and in Germany, and I’m very blessed to have this opportunity to go study them. Not only do I think these opportunities will make a huge difference for me personally, but hopefully I will be able to pass on this knowledge to my students and other teachers at my school as well. Also, with a bit of luck, I’ll come across some entertaining experiences to pass on to you in this blog. Hang on tight – this is going to be a wild ride.