Having recently paid key money when signing the lease on my new apartment, I can’t afford to sign up for a sea kayaking trip in Namhae with AK this weekend. I’ve been told that Namhae is the place to go kayaking in
and the photos of the area look amazing. With a bit of luck, AK will have the same trip next summer and I’ll be able to sign up then. Fortunately, I have other plans to keep me engaged on this rather hot Saturday. Korea
Volunteering at Orphanages in Jeonju
Several months ago, I came across a group on Facebook called Jeonju Neighbourly, Neighbourly, which volunteers between four local orphanages in Jeonju alternating each month. I’ve wanted to join one of their trips for a while and today is the perfect opportunity to do so. We meet at a coffee shop in Jeonju at 13:00 to discuss basic strategy before heading Samsung Orphanage. At the orphanage, the kids are genuinely delighted to see us and eager to play games. We set up a few games indoors and some of us head outside to play soccer and badminton. I’m not much of a soccer fan but, unable to convince a kid to play badminton with me, I find myself playing soccer with three eager boys.
As the afternoon goes on, I become increasingly aware that the other NET volunteers around me are mostly elementary school teachers who have picked up a fair amount of Korean as a result of their students. I, on the other hand, cannot really communicate with the kids at the orphanage and I feel a little frustrated with myself and my own limitations. I honestly thought that I’d be able to speak more Korean than I currently can by this stage of my contract.
The two hours spent playing with the children at the orphanage seem to pass very quickly. There’s a good selection of balloon animals, halli galli, jacks, bowling, and a few other games. Most importantly, the kids seem to have a good time playing, and I’m impressed by the commitment of my fellow volunteers, many of whom do this monthly.
Fortunately, with Liberation Day on Monday, we have yet another long weekend. After being closed for several months, our local Subways has just re-opened and Catfish and I head there for lunch on Sunday before hanging out in Angel-in-us. At dinner time it’s back to Hoa Binh and we realise once more that we’re certainly creatures of habit when it comes to restaurants and places to hang out. Before heading back to Catfish’s apartment to watch The Smurfs online, we make a quick pit stop at Lotte Mart for some wine and snacks, which probably don’t help when we start thinking just how inappropriate some of the dialogue is in a childhood cartoon now that we’re adults.