Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is Where I live

If you follow this link you will be able to see pictures of my apartment, and read the descriptions :-)


Monday, June 23, 2008

Life Lessons Learned From Math

So today I was thinking about math, and this is what I came up with... the top five things I learned about life from math.

5. Following Formulas are Important

When you find something that works for you, you should follow that formula because you know that its going to work out for the best. That isn't to say that you shouldn't think outside of the box, but after there has been a disaster you can always go back to your tried and true formula.

4. When solving for x have all of the necessary information

When you are looking at a problem it is crucial to have all of the pertinent information so that you can adequately solve the problem without completely missing the boat.

3. There are always things you can count on

Whether it be your fingers or toes or your family and friends. Whenever you need some extra help there is always someone or something there to lend a hand.

2. Sometimes the Numbers Just Don't Add Up

When you think you have everything figured out and all of the components are present and accounted for there seems to be something hiding out that you are missing... and that's OK because eventually you will be able to figure it out. Though numbers not adding up on financial documents is more problematic

1. You have the skills you just lack the confidence

My math professor told me this, during my last math class (Yay!). Its true though you can have all of the skills necessary to be really good at something but if you lack the confidence you are going to be hindered from the start. So whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm and confidence and you will be able to do it well. :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Culture Shock

So lately I have been getting a lot of questions about culture shock-- and I don't feel like there has been any defining moments where I have been able to say: "wow! that was an episode of culture sock"-- In talking to other foriegners it is felt that its a lot of small occurances that can eventually turn into big issues for the individuals...

My issue that I have come across is when I am trying to express what I need to people- when they discover that I don't speak Korean they will either try to speak English, or they will call someone on the telephone who does speak English to act as a translator. The third possibility is what makes me the most angry is when they start yelling in Korean or they start yelling and acting frantic. I just don't see how that is beneficial. I know that there is a tendency for people to do this when speaking with "foriegners" all over the world. But I don't see how this makes anything better. Perhaps it has to do with my education and I have studied such things as languge and beneficial communication strategies...

My biggest issue was when I needed to charge my phone (put minutes on it) so that I would be able to make calls, I could still recieve them but I could not make them. One guy tried to be helpful by drawing a picture of the sign that I should be looking for and then walked out the door and pointed which way I should be going.

I do realize that I should try to speak the language of the country that you are living in, and I am trying to learn the language... and I am trying right now I am working on picking up survival Korean, and am hoping to be able to start Korean lessons soon. But that will probably be after Intensives start, and I am not working on Saturdays anymore.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Me Looking Like a Drowned Rat

Here are what my clothes looked like after being caught in the down pour without my umbrella! What I learned is always have an umbrella, but this proves that everything happens for a reason!

God's Grace in A Million Places and Faces

Even in Korea I am seeing God's grace and am feeling his presence, which is truly amazing.

The light bulbs burnt out in my apartment bathroom and so I had to try and find a place in which I could purchase light bulbs (which would be Home Plus), but I couldn't remember how to get there because the last time I had been there I had sort of just followed the others because I was exhausted and completely disorientated... I had tried to find it on my own but had no such luck and so I ran into another foreigner named Jason and he was such a great help he pointed out landmarks to me and even walked with me a good chunk of the way so that I could get there on my own. It was greatly appreciated :-) Later that day I had to go back there to pick up my passport photos for my alien card and my physical results, and during the walk back it was pouring rain and I had not brought my umbrella because it was still drying out from the day before and as I was standing on a corner with my purse over my head, cursing the rain and my stupidity for not grabbing my umbrella Nickie approached me and asked if I was OK... and my response was I am alright but I am wet, and just trying to get home... She asked me where I was going and I pointed the general direction of my apartment she came over to me and shared her umbrella with me, and walked me mostly to my apartment.

In both cases of Jason and Nickie they had been so nice and helpful that it made me feel a little less lost and confused. Because what I have noticed is that foreigners are not necessarily going to help you which is extremely frustrating when you are new! It was that night that I went to dinner with Emma who I had met pre-physical and we swapped phone numbers and she assured me that if I ever wanted to hang out or if needed help with anything that I should give her a call, and so that night I had decided to call her to see if she wanted to go to dinner with me, because all of my co-workers were off to Saipan for their vacation time. Dinner was really nice we talked and she was very reassuring and it made me feel less lonely, because I felt like I actually had a change to make my own friends :-)

Here is the Ironic thing Nickie and Emma are co-workers and so when I was telling Emma about the girl who rescued me with her umbrella Emma knew who I was talking about.

But last night when I went to Now Bar with my co-workers I ended up sitting at a table with Nickie, Emma, and Lett and their friends which was nice. They made me feel completely welcomed and they introduced me to their friends and I never felt like I was imposing like I have in the past here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Life in Korea

Answers to questions that my friend Angie has asked, that other people might be wondering about:

Its going well, I really like it here! I am adjusting though I am still in the throes of culture shock. I love my students, I like the politeness of the culture, I love that random children walk up to me and say "hi teacher! How are you?" Even though they aren't my students or go to my institute. I love that things are open later, and the Korean babies with mohawks are adorable!!! What I don't like is the rain, being pushed/ bumped while walking (its normal), metal chopsticks, or not knowing when I am going to see Scott again.

I live in Suwon, which is a city of approximately a million people. I am living by myself, in an mix between and efficiency and studio apartment. I really like it and am hoping to get more pictures up as soon as I am able to get my camera back in working order. I haven't watched a lot of t.v. because I have to get my alien card before I can get cable, but they have channels in English with Korean subtitles. There are also channels that are in Korean without subtitles.

On occasion there are forks but most of the time there are wooden or metal chopsticks. The wooden chopsticks are more of a disposable thing where as the metal ones are “fancier” or are for barbecue type restaurants, because you cook your own meat and then eat it off of the grill.

The work hours are great I work 3:10 to approximately 9:30 contractually but usually get home around 10 p.m. They (Korean children) do associate white people with being a teacher because most commonly a foreigner is a teacher, or millitary personnel. I am not responsible for planning lessons because I teach off of a “syllabus” which is nice. I do have supplementary materials that I plan but that is more of a “on the fly” kind of thing to check for comprehension and re-explaining information.

I have one class of k1Bridge phonics for two periods... they are the youngest students and are to young for k1 (level 1) phonics, but they are ready to work with a native speaking teacher. I have four classes in which I work with K1 kids teaching phonics and reading, I have 6 classes of K2 (level 2)doing phonics, and basic reading . When you get to the grades its the curriculum that you would see at an elementary teacher. I teach six classes of Grade one Science and Social Studies and one writing class, Grade 1 Bridge phonics and writing. Two secitions of Grade 2 Writing and Grammar, Social Studies, and Science. One section of Grade 3 Writing and Grammar, Social Studies and Science along with four class periods a week with the Global leaders which is the highest level and we work on test preparation stuff for the TOEFL test. I teach 8 classes a day, and it can get very hectic... Any questions you have about Korea let me know and I will be more than willing to answer them :-) This is just the beginning.

Overall though, I am very happy with my decision!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Street that I live on

This is the street that I live on! I am not really sure what its name is or if it even has a name, but its my building and some restaurants, and if you look closely you can see the motorbikes for delivering food. Those people are mildly crazy and will run you down if you are not careful, but it makes me feel better that it happens in other Asian countries and I've seen them take out almost anybody.

My Apartment Building

This picture is of my apartment building. You go in the front door that has a security lock, and then you go up a small set of stairs. I am on the first floor of the building. My apartment is a nice size for one person, any more people than me and it would be very difficult to fit everyone. I have a little galley style kitchen with two gas burners, a bathroom, my main room and my antechamber. There will be more pictures to follow as I get more things organized and set up, right now is still fairly chaotic.