Land of the Morning Calm
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Also, I have gotten more involved recently which has kept me busy. I have always wished I was better at speaking and specifically public speaking. A coworker recommended Toastmaster's and Jess (another coworker) and I checked it out. Boy, am I glad I did. Not only was it clear that the way the meetings are structured really helps you grow and improve your speaking, but it was clear that the members are all really supportive and really love being in the club. I have met a lot of really interesting, kind people as a result of trying something new, and I'm loving it. This coming week I get to do a book review which I am enthralled about but also slightly nervous. I feel that I could really change my life by learning how to communicate and connect to those around me better.
Additionally, I have been volunteering in a local foreign school in a first grade classroom which has been amazing. The teacher I am helping is such an accepting sweetheart and has made me feel welcome and the kids are a blast. Additionally, the teacher has been letting me know about foreign school job opportunities and other things about living in Busan. I am handing my resume into the school's vice principal just in case they are still hiring...
There have recently been a lot of changes at the school where I am working which has also kept me busy and on my toes. Some of the changes are good, and some are bad...But I think overall I will continue to enjoy my experience here in Busan.
I just want to say that recently I have been hit by homesickness. I miss my wonderful, albeit silly, family and I worry about missing out on parts of their lives. Because of the difficulty in scheduling a time to talk with them because we are all so busy, I don't talk to them nearly as much as I would like. While I see many opportunities here in Korea to gain teaching experience and set my life going in the right direction...the fact that any long term commitment would keep me away from them hurts my heart. Clearly the solution is for you all to move to South Korea. Okay? Great.
That also goes for my friends back in the states. I wish I could say with certainty that I am coming back to you guys for good, soon...
Anyway, I am looking forward to this weekend especially because we are getting paid, I get to see my friends at Toastmaster's and talk about I book I like, and on Sunday I am going to go on a picnic with my coworkers. :)
I hope you all are finding happiness and are loving life like I am. <3
Friday, January 13, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
When we disembarked we were met by a wizened woman who smiled and motioned us into the playroom to get ready to set things up. A small group of foreigners had prepared a skit that involved the grinch so they set to putting their costumes on and painting the "grinch" green. The rest of us less dramatically inclined volunteers began sorting through the presents and frantically doing last-minute wrapping. Everyone went into action, there was no one just standing around. In a short time we had the presents organized by gender and age group and we were in shock with how many presents there were. SO HAPPY! Then we got to work planning the activities to do with the kids. We created three stations where kids could decide where to go and what to do. Once the kids came down, we were prepared and excited. You could tell so were they! They were mostly middle school aged kids, and mostly girls. Many of them smiled and waved as they came in and sat down to watch the very spastic Grinch try and steal Christmas.
Om nom nom. Potluck dinner with friends!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Philly Cheesesteak or silkworm larvae...decisions, decisions...
Hope everyone back home is well. I'm working on compiling a gift box for my family, but it's likely to get there almost a month from now...sorry. My classes are fun so far, but the biggest problem I'm having is figuring out how to make the students happy by making the classes fun and interesting, while still completing the work in the workbooks to make the administration and the parents happy. It's a difficult balancing act. We shall see.
Monday, December 12, 2011
He makes this face...a lot.
I was at a table with Aaron's father and brother, Aaron, his girlfriend Namyoung, and Jay. We were definitely the cool table.
Making peace signs in pictures is cool.
The next day we decided to have a movie night at one of my coworker's apartment. I woke up late and was starving so I went to a Vietnamese place that just opened up. It was a nice change of pace and a very trendy looking place. Maybe I'll have to visit 'nam sometime afterall.
Jess is thuper exthited for the Pho.
After a week long debate as to which movie we were going to watch, we finally settled for Robinhood Men in Tights as something on which we could all agree.
The boys are less excited about the Cary Elwes action.
We ordered pizza (not kimchi for once!) and enjoyed laughing at, and in the case of the females drooling over Cary Elwes, the movie. The next night we went to a dinner party at one of the ladies who works at HQ apartment. She made us homecooked Korean food which was amazing and we talked and watched Law and Order. It was a relaxing conclusion to a pretty busy weekend and week.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Pictures of my new home. Where's Waldo?
For most of the week we newbies were thrown into teaching so we were busy during the day preparing for that and the evenings were spent trying to figure out how to get our clothes out of the Korean washers which are all in Hangul and will only let you have access to your clothing when IT wants you to. I'm on the fourteenth floor and if need be I can repel down this fire escape shoot thing that is built into the wall Batman-style....oooohhhhhh yeeeeaaaaah.
The night before my birthday was great. I hung out with the other teachers at this great Korean Barbeque place and had a ball talking about our classes. After dinner we went over to one of the teacher's apartments and hung out until wee hours of the morning. Later that day, I woke up feeling a little under the weather, but well enough to greet the maintainance guy and have a conversation with him. Just as he left my health took a turn for the worst. I had been drinking Gatorade that for some reason was GINGER flavored thinking it'd help my health and that I was just dehydrated or something.
I didn't feel the need to hurl, however, until one of my fellow foreign teachers came knocking on my door asking if I wanted to come walk around with her in town because it was nice and sunny. In the middle of her sentence, I pushed past her into the bathroom, closed the door and lost the contents of my stomach. It was only seconds later that I realized that I had just closed myself in the bathroom with the light off and was standing in the dark. After a couple beats there was a tentative knock with a quiet 'are you okay?' coming from the other side of the door. 'Yeah,' I managed to splutter. She eventually said that she'd come see how I was doing later and quietly left. For the next day and a half I got to know my new toilet VERY WELL. The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that I had several good books to read in between puke sessions.
I woke up this morning exhausted but stable and made my way to the immigration office to apply for my Alien Registration Card. So, you know, I won't be deported or anything. I have slowly been feeling better and was able to eat solid food for the first time it what seems ages. As we were finishing up our meal at our favorite cheap place to eat near school, everyone started to get all shifty, but I was still tired and out of it. I didn't see the cake with candles coming until they burst out singing and it was plopped in front of me. The owner of the restaurant came over and gave me a hug. I was bright red and the cake had four (I turned 24) candles and a cute chocolate coffee cup on the top. It was heart-shaped and lovely. I was pretty touched, I nearly cried in my kimchi. The rest of the day was great. I had two gregarious classes that made it easy to teach, except this time I refrained from throwing fart putty at the kids because it sent some of the girls into hysterics.
All in all, life is good. :)
Saturday, November 26, 2011
It was super chewy and hard. It had an interesting flavor and consistency. I didn't mind it but not the best snack I've had since coming to Korea. The first Korean snack I had when I got to Gimpo:
Speaking of food, during lunch today all the foreign teachers went as a group to eat and after we walked down to the local market. A huge tent covered the streets and there were stands where you could buy live eels, catfish and other kinds of fish in tanks in addition to vegetables, spices and fruit:
So many smells and things to see.
The reason for us going was to get these deep fried pastries that are served warm and are similiar to donuts. You add sugar and there is syrup and chopped walnuts inside. To die for. There are places there where you can choose your fish alive from one of the tanks and they cook and serve it to you.
After work, we all went out to get Korean barbeque at a place that the veteran teachers call "smiley's" because the owner is always smiling. The tables have a small fire pit in the middle where you cook thin slices of marinated beef yourself. They bring you tons of side dishes and leaves of lettuce and sesame leaves. You put whatever side dish you want along with the beef on a leaf and wrap it up. Kind of like a burrito or something. It was incredible and a really fun experience.
Twas great food in a great city with great people. All in all, a great time. :)