Posted by Garrett Weeda
Just a little background information, my name is Garrett Weeda and I toured with Theatre IV from September 2006 until May 2009. My wife, Grace Abele, also toured with Theatre IV from September 2008 until May 2009. After finishing our tours, we both ended up working at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (I was a Stage Manager while Grace was a singer in several of their shows).
Enough of the history lesson, now onto the good stuff!
Last September Grace and I accepted jobs in South Korea, working as “edutainers" at Gyeonggi English Village. An “edutainer” here means that we are responsible for the park’s educational entertainment. Along with performing, our department is in charge of creating shows and activities to help Koreans learn English following our central parkwide theme, which we decide on every three months. We have never had a job that has allowed us to be so creative. Grace and I are performing in our fourth show. Grace is currently writing our next show, which is a take on Robin Hood, and so far she has gotten to compose the music for our past two shows. Currently, I am in charge of props for our next two shows and was fortunate enough to direct our winter production, called The Nanny. We love our jobs so much we decided to extend our contracts another year, but hopefully we will be returning to the U.S. sometime next May.
*Sidenote – We were able to bring our beautiful pup, Zuri, and so many of our friends here have dogs that she always has someone to play with.
Now onto the GREAT stuff!
On March 21, 2011, Grace and I got married in Seoul! And you know what that means…it was time for a honeymoon! One huge perk of our job is that we are given twenty vacation days each year (and five extra because we got married). We took twenty of them in one big chunk and spent an entire month traveling Southeast Asia. In all we visited six major cities in four different countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bali.
The best part by far was while we were in Chiang Mai, Thailand during Songkran. That was an unforgettable adventure; anyone who has the chance must experience it. Songkran is the annual water festival during the hottest days of summer in Thailand. AKA city-wide water fight! Everyone parties and splashes each other with water in the streets. With music blaring, there are people of all ages, genders, and races dancing, singing, and spraying water everywhere. There is so much genuine good will that it was an absolutely amazing experience.
Our travelling didn’t stop there. We went to Hong Kong to celebrate the Chinese New Year and what a city! Amazing architecture, beautiful sights, wonderful food, and probably the best public transportation in the world. One day we hope to return to try living there for a year or two. But our travels will continue. We took a week to explore different areas of Korea in July, will follow that with a week in China in October, and to cap it all off, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Songkran in Chiang Mai again in April.
All-in-all life is good, even though we miss our friends and family in the States. We wish everyone could have an experience like this. We do have one favor to ask of Theatre IV and Barksdale. Can you guys stop putting on these amazing shows until we get back? We are totally jealous that we can’t see you all in these terrific productions.