My latest endeavor at AAVN was not actually my idea. In fact, the film festival idea belonged to my awesome principal, however, he conceded he has no idea how to plan something like that. We were just chit chatting about all the great things we can do at our school and the fun we have doing it . He told me a story about a colleague who once hosted a film festival with other international schools. I thought, "whoa, that's the real deal. Lets do it!" Only we wouldn't start out as grand because we've already got a lot of creative ideas floating up in the air. A few devoted students in our 1x a week meetings would be the ones who really put this together. After all the Sunbear Sound video club was not part of my job description coming into the school, but the club was created because of the video creating passion all the students and I shared.
As we speak, the kids are working on invitations, web design, the logistics of the event, ways to promote, advertisements and trailers to show at the next assembly. Getting them to all work on a common project really united the club. I told them they all have to submit a video for the festival too. They were thrilled about being able to showcase their work in a friendly competition.
As soon as the idea emerged it took on this whole new dimension spun into a partial grammy-like event. The kids want to wear a suit and gown while they walk the red carpet and receive trophies for their work (well see how that goes on a Thursday night after school). I am so thrilled to be leading this initiative. The video culture in our school has kids working on projects for classroom presentations in nearly every class. They love it. The event has given me more duties and responsibility to ensure the event runs smoothly, but its worth it to see so many kids are creating! A few students recently got detention for filming after school unsupervised. And a big thanks to our school marketing team who are going to help us host the event. I cant wait to show off the videos.
Below is the advertisement they came up with!
They also started a news and video segment to inform the student body of upcoming events
North Korea is such a cool place! If your thinking of going for a weekend, a week a month or a year, do it. Seoul is a huge city, with state-of-the art everything. Though it's not the only part of South Korea you should see. Its well connected country with extensive train line linking cities. You can literally go anywhere in a few hours. While there I had the opportunity to do some touring (I only went for 3 days). One day I spent at Yongpyong snowboarding, another travelling around the city and exploring hidden eateries, museums and shopping malls, and another at the DMZ. It was a truly memorable experience. At the time of this post, the country is still at war. Though not actually shooting bullets at each other they dare each other down and treat this border as if it can blow up any second. When you go to the DMZ, be extremely respectful and follow orders. Don't try to be loud or standout with a stupid selfie. You don't want ot end up on the news. The otur is a whole day and must be booked in the city. Its starts early and maybe lasts 6 hours. you'll see many parts of the DMZ, including tunnels and a train platform that is ready to be linked with the North.
(update: since this post The leaders of the two countries shook hands at the DMZ and have held several meeting together. US president Donald trump also met with the North Korean Leader Kim Jung Un in an effort to scale back their nuclear program.
I am writing this post to reflect on what a great country it is. I generally don't have many bad things to say about the places I visit. If I were to give you some advice, it would be to visit Seoul during the warmer parts of the year. Packing and carrying winter clothes is a real pain because you'll end up taking the train to most destinations. Id also be prepared to pay a higher price for most "hostels." I stayed at a tiny little joint in Itaewon for about 50 USD a room. However, I heard there were cheaper places nearby, so do your homework. And lastly, don't be offended if your not let into a pub. Many clubs and bars, especially in Itaewon area, known to most travellers, have signs that say "no foreigners allowed." I think this has a lot to do with Koreans being an inclusive society. The men at bars tend to be "less welcoming" to foreigners as they are in other parts of Asia, like Vietnam. I guess you get that kind of hostility wherever alcohol is involved. Oh well, I moved on to the next place. Beers are pricier at restaurants, but Sake is still cheap. I prefer the Sake restaurants anyhow. Most people and business are respectful, friendly and polite. And you'll fine that Karaoke is a hugely popular thing to do. If your lucky enough to be invited with some Koreans, choose a slow peaceful song. Asians seem to like to sing the songs that require better vocal talents than the ones that will make you sing a long.
There are good eateries in the nooks and crannies of the Seoul. Not everything is expensive, like we imagined. Seoul has some awesome street food that I've been craving ever since I left. There are also cheap beers you can have in the street in these plastic curtain draped BBQ stalls. Walk aorund Get lost if you can. Enjoy the culture and have fun. I can't wait to go back.
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