...and trying to settle in.
It's been interesting so far. We left Cedar City at 5AM on July 6th. We actually arrived in the village at 8PM on July 7th. It was a lot of traveling. And we had to wake up and go to work the next morning. Really, it was only a half day, as the students leave on Fridays after lunch. So that wasn't too bad. But afterward we had meetings with the other teachers and a sort of orientation with one of the head teachers.
Today, Monday, we actually started teaching. But more on that in another blog, once I've actually figured it out.
I wanted to talk about the Village itself first. It's kind of like Disneyland. No, really.
These first three pictures kind of illustrate my point. The first is the big, "Hollywood" style sign on the hill just around the corner from the entrance. Well-lit at night, you can see it from a ways away, even when it's raining. The second is a sign that appears every 20 feet, more or less, on the wall surrounding the village property. Sometimes these signs are completely hidden by the ivy growing down the wall. The third is the main entrance to the village. Yep, that's a replica of Stonehenge.
These next pictures are of the village itself.
This is the main plaza of the village. The cafeteria is at the far end of the photo, and the buildings on either side are the main teaching areas. The Head Teachers' office is on the left hand side.
Through the archway and up the hill is our apartment. The trolley tracks are functional, but the trolley apparently isn't. The village has four little carts that people and ride in and peddle along the trolley track. Good way to see the village. The carts have power, as well, so they can always get back up the hill.
This is the view from the other end of the street. We're about three buildings down on the left.
More of the campus, just showing how close the foliage comes to the village. The building on the left holds classrooms and the one on the right is the closest of the student hotels.
Big fountain, with the weekend crowds .
Path heading to teachers' apartment buildings.
Stone pathway leading through the trees, still on village grounds. This one heads down to a rather dirty pond, that has a nifty wooden walkway over it. I'll have to take some pictures later.
Shot of the nearby rice paddies and housing near the village. Very picturesque, I think.
I'll do a full blog about our apartment later. With pictures, of course.
So, about the Disneyland statement. See, the village is full during the week with students from Korean schools. They stay on campus, in "hotels" named after native cultures from all over the world. Incas. Aztecs. Navajos. Aborigines. You get the idea. On the weekend, families can come and visit to have an "English Experience." They do English-oriented activities and games and shop in English-style stores. It's kind of amusing, really.
While Chelsea and I were wandering around the village Saturday, getting a feel for its layout, we were mobbed a couple times by kids asking for our names and signatures. They had to find ten different people and ask this in English. Some did better than others. While we were in the gift shop, the proprietor asked us to help a little Korean girl say "How much is it?" And when I say "little," I mean maybe four years old. She did well with the imitation and was super cute.
As the visitors wander around, speakers are playing children's songs and fully dramatized versions of fairy tales. On repeat. And the prices in the shops and restaurants have been elevated to theme park levels. Almost. Teachers do get a small discount at the food places. Every little bit helps.
It's a fun place to live, overall. However, the we have to go into town to do "real" shopping, and that means a taxi, usually. We can take a shuttle, then taxi back. It all means communicating somehow in a language I don't know. All I can say is "thank you," "Belly-button," and "that sleepy feeling you get after a meal."
Only the first is helpful.