Sunday, January 11, 2009

English in the Mountains Part II

Here we are for the second part of my recap of Gunpo Winter Camp in Chengyang. It was rather cold outside, but not as cold as it is getting these days. Korean winter weather comes in a cyclic pattern. You get about 5 days of freezing cold then 5 days of not so freezing cold. Which one do you think I prefer?

Anyways, part 2 of this series is going to highlight the places and scenery at camp. I will finish this long blog post in part 3 with details about the teaching and children.

So please come with me as we look around camp. :)

This was the teaching building. Inside was a gymnasium and classrooms.

Here is the area where the entrance was to the building. It was kind of an impromptu meeting ground for all us teachers. We would gather here and grumble about the day then head on down for a meal.

Detail shot of drinks inside the vending machine:
In the hallway was a display case with plastic traditional Korean food and apparently a stuffed rooster and some soju.
My classroom. It was a good room and I was allowed to run the heater all day long.
Let's go outside. Here is a view from the teaching building roof. As you can see the school was atop a valley. Believe it or not, the kids did go outside and play sports on that field.

All the meals were had in a dining room which was inside this building. To get there you had to walk downhill from the teaching building. The food was Korean style for all the meals. Except that for breakfast they had set aside cereal, milk, OJ, bread and jam, and yogurt for us foreigners. Sometimes the kids would look over at our table with that "give me" sort of stare.

Near the cafeteria was a chained up dog. She was still a puppy and very nice dog. Sad thing though was that she was chained up all day and night. The kids would play with her, but sometimes the boys were too rough.
Also near the cafeteria and alongside the camp was a creek. This part must be where the water accumulates. But being as it is winter, it was partially frozen over. I think it will be a pleasant site in the summer time.

One of the signs on camp.
A platform in the woods. Again, something which will be more welcoming in the summer.
And so we come to the end of our look around the camp. As you can see the place wasn't too vast, but closely put together.

One of the best sites I saw was the mountain scene around us. The view reminded me of Korean landscape ink paintings.

Kumgangsan by cheongseon

Do you see how in the ink painting, the mountain spires are like triangles placed one upon the other? Well looking at the mountain it takes on this imagery. Another distinct characteristic is in how the tops of the mountain look darker than the rest. You can see this in the ink painting, where there is like a ring of trees crowning the peaks of the mountains.

Anyways, I guess my point is that it was thrilling to see this and make the connection.

That leaves us with the scenery around camp. In Part 3 I will end this series with points about my classes and the kids.

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