This week’s person packs more into a day, it seems, than many do in their whole life. Besides traveling, teaching, and trying out any hobby that comes her way, she’s also into fundraising…and all with a smile on her face. Here, in her own words, is Lianne Bronzo…a person you should know in Gwangju.
How long have you been in Gwangju?
Since August 2012.
What do you do here in Gwangju?
Most of the time, I teach little people some words I know. I also moderate the Gwangju Freecycle group and organize clothing swaps, write/proofread for the Gwangju News, and bake for ‘CAUSE Banana Bread . A portion of each sale goes to a local cause of the buyer’s choice. You might have tried some at Alleycon, Rumors, Freecycle, and the Sungbin Bake Sales.
What did you do before you took up your current job?
While a full-time student working my thesis, I held five jobs at once (research assistant/lab coordinator, teaching assistant, brain trainer, telephone poller, and newspaper delivery girl). All worth it, as it funded my first travels to Asia, which sparked my interest in coming back to live.
My most recent job was as a psychometrist in an outpatient rehabilitation center. I conducted neuropsychological batteries to find evidence for dementia or brain disorders resulting from traumatic brain injury or stroke. Please, always wear a helmet when cycling and motorbiking. I like your brain.
What has been your most rewarding achievement?
A tangible achievement was being awarded my university’s Senior Service Award which one student is selected per graduating class for volunteerism. The scholarship was nice, but it was mostly a time to reflect on my university years, the skills developed, and friendships formed as it was awarded at the graduation ceremony.
An intangible achievement is now being able to spend the day with my birth parents and communicate only in Korean.
What do you do for fun?
I love gathering people, organizing events, fundraising, being outside and trying new hobbies. While in Korea, I dabbled in rock climbing, swing dancing, painting, taekwondo, and tennis. After these experimentations, I learned my heart lies in bicycling, running, and hiking.
My other passion is travel, so when I’m not traveling, I’m reading about other cultures, studying Korean or Spanish, hosting CouchSurfers and planning my next adventure.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
One of my most memorable experiences was CouchSurfing with a Mongolian family of six in their ger. They didn’t have running water, but they did have cows and Internet. There is a lot I could say, but I already did. Read about it here if you so desire.
Any family? Pets?
My parents, sister, and brother are back in America. I reunited with my birth family in Korea in 2012, so I’ve been getting to know them while I’m here. Don’t have pets in Korea, but sometimes I chase cats around the neighborhood.
What is something you wish you could do?
I wish I could pick up every piece of trash on the ground and prevent it all from existing in the first place.
Any embarrassing tales for public consumption?
After teaching classes for the day, a woman from the vice principal’s office came into my classroom and pulled on my long skirt. It was tucked in my underwear all day. My coteacher, who didn’t speak much English, was too shy to tell me, so he got someone else to do it. Actually, I wasn’t really embarrassed. This kind of stuff happens to me often, but now I have a boyfriend who wipes toothpaste off my face and tells me my shirt is on backwards before I leave the house.
Is there any person you admire?
Many. In general, I admire people who are passionate and not afraid of failure. People who are chasing their dreams instead of always working for someone else’s dreams. People who smile and laugh more than complain and regret.
Any personal code you live by?
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”
What’s your “perfect” day in Gwangju?
It’s Autumn and foliage season. First, I’ll drink coffee and stretch. Then, take advantage of the beautiful day by cycling around with Adam until we find some new trails to hike. I’ll find a particularly gorgeous tree with red leaves and lay underneath with my Kindle, play chess, and eat apples. When it starts getting chilly, we’ll go home, cook something, and share it at a rooftop potluck party with friends.
Is there any place in Gwangju you recommend?
The new observatory in Sajik Park is neat for a sunset. Follow it by having a drink and listening to live music in one of the many intimate bars lining the street near GFN.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?
CouchSurf or host someone in your home from a different culture.
Any advice you want to give the people of Gwangju?
If you want to do something and it doesn’t exist, create it! The Gwangju community is quite receptive to new ideas and you will receive support.
I am eager to help others and give travel advice, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need help!