Monday, November 10, 2008

Korea Update 4

Hello Everyone,
I appologize in advance that it has been a few months since I have updated so this email will be a little bit longer than usual.
Since I last emailed I have had my birthday, gone to the dmz, started a new term teaching, started Korean class and some random things :) I hope all of you are doing well.
Work-- I have started a new term teaching which meant that I had some new classes and am now the leading Social Studies and Science teacher which is good and bad at the same time. I m currently working on writing curriculum for Grade 5 and am overseeing corrections to the curriculum for grades 1-4. It's good because I have some experience leading other teachers but it gives me a lot more to worry about and that kind of thing when being responsible for other teachers. Overall, my kids are great! They do have a tendency to get a little rowdy but that is because they are kids and they spend a good portion of their day at school, academies, and studying/ preparing for the next school day. I really enjoy working with my students, though dealing with the two new teachers can sometimes be difficult. My wall space in front of my desk is now covered with pictures drawn by my students which is nice. I feel like I am starting to establish a routine and my kids now what is ok and not ok to do and we have our routine down. In December we will be starting intensives again. I love and hate intensives all at the same time. I thankfully got time off to come home for Derek's wedding and will be home Jan. 1st through the 5th. Its going to be a short and quick trip. I am very excited about that.
Birthday-- So the week of my birthday (August 26) I had the week off. On my birthday I went to go get a manicure with my friend Niki and we had lunch over her lunch break. That afternoon my friend Leit and I went to the Korean Folk Village in Yong-in, Suwon. It was really hot, but it was still interesting to look at all of the different types of architecture and what not. Over my break I did some different things like:
Ate a traditional Korean meal
Tried Jellyfish, octopus, and shushi that was salmon with fish eggs
I tried shabu shabu ( a Korean Soup)
I was on location for the filming of a popular Korean television show (quite by accident)
I ate birthday cake with chopsticks
I read Harry Potter books 3-7 in one week
Thank you to everyone for the birthday emails, cards, and the birthday presents they were greatly appreciated. My pictures from Ethan and Jonah are hanging up on my closet door. :)
September was a really boring month here I just worked and on the weekends I stayed home trying to get caught up on the housework and sleep which never seems to happen during the week. I did purchase a winter coat and hat. I think that I am going to need to start using them soon. It is starting to get really cold. I just need to pick up mittens and I think I will be set, I am not sure if I will need boots or not yet. Though, I did go to the casino for the first time. I didn't bring very much money (less than 25 dollars) and had fun playing the slot machines.
October-- I have been working a lot. I have also been sick a lot this month with the weather changing and working with little kids. I had a horrible cold one week, then the next week I lost my voice. Trying to managed kindergarten classes without a voice is quite difficult. It slowly started to get better. Though my students thought it was quite hilarious when my voice started to come back because it was very low. My students kept telling me that I was a man teacher or they would call me adjooshe (the Korean word for an elderly man) because of my voice. Though, it was harder to teach my students were very sweet and were very helpful. They were very good and they kept giving me water and other advice to help me feel better. They kept telling me: "Teacher, no talk. I sad that teacher sick." I have completely fallen into the role of "teacher". It is very sweet when they get so excited when they see me in my neighborhood, Yeongtong.
I have also voted in the election this month, I voted the first week in October to make sure that it would get there in enough time.
An acquaintance friend of mine has passed away in Korea which has been difficult, because if someone passes away overseas its a lot of paperwork and it can be very difficult to get any information out of anyone. I have been acting as a sounding board for my friends who have been dealing with the paperwork and the American embassy.
Last weekend I went to an foreigner information fair with some friends and then we went to the Seoul Museum of Art. There was an interactive media and light exhibit. It was really interesting to be there and see the exhibits as well as see how people act and interact with each other at the museum. It was also nice to get out of Suwon for awhile.
As I said I started Korean class a couple of weeks ago. Its nice because it gives me something constructive to do and it will be helpful in me learning to read and learning to speak the language. I went on the class field trip a couple of weekends ago. It was really nice we went to this Confucian school and museum. It was really interesting to learn about how Confucianism has impacted Korean culture. I also visited my first Buddhist temple. It was interesting, we pretty much hiked up a small mountain to get up there. Once we got up to the top the landscape was really nice.
November is going to come and go before I know it too, I am celebrating Thanksgiving on the 29th of November (Saturday) since I am going to be working on the actual holiday. But thats ok because it will keep me from getting homesick. I am doing alright though :)
Here are links for pictures-- I have pictures up from the field trip, dmz, my birthday, and other things.